2010 – The Year In ReviewNovember 23rd, 2010
In Georgia, a Sikh boy was told he would have to remove his patka before he could take his State ID picture. His father was told that he would not be able to wear his turban when he renewed his license. SALDEF intervened and the Georgia Department of Driver Services apologized and agreed to have their staff trained by SALDEF. We have worked on similar issues in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, and California.
Surjit Singh Saund of North Carolina was told that he could not open a convenience store because of his turban and beard. Inderjit Singh of Indianapolis was told he could not work at an airport for the same reason. SALDEF connected Mr. Saund and Mr. Singh with our partners at Public Justice and both have filed a law suit to ensure Sikhs don’t have to make a false choice between their religion and their livelihood.
Over the summer, we completed an analysis of Facebook and discovered a concerning trend. Fourty-five anti-Sikh or anti-turban pages are currently reaching a combined audience of over three million individuals. SALDEF has launched a campaign to close down these pages and address the spread of misinformation.
In April of this year, SALDEF and a broad coalition of interfaith partners succeeded in overturning an Oregon law banning public school teachers from wearing articles of faith while in the classroom.
This year we made presentations for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and local police departments around the country. As a result of our continued engagement, we have secured open invitations from eight police departments inviting Sikh Americans to join their ranks.
This summer, when state Senator Jake Knotts referred to South Carolina Gubernatorial Candidate Nikki Haley as a ‘raghead,’ SALDEF contacted his office to demand the Senator issue an apology for his remarks.