SALDEF Advocate: SALDEF Encourages Senate Confirmation of Attorney General NomineeJanuary 29th, 2009
1. SALDEF Encourages Senate Confirmation of Attorney General Nominee
2. SALDEF Recognized for Work on Behalf of the Sikh American Community
3. SALDEF Accepting Applications for 2009 Internship Program
4. SALDEF Advises Obama/Biden Presidential Transition Team on Civil Rights Concerns
5. SALDEF Meets with Senate Democratic Leadership
6. SALDEF Pressures Justice Department and FBI on New Intrusive Investigative Guidelines
7. SALDEF Participates in Department of Homeland Security Roundtable
8. SALDEF Conducts Cultural Awareness Training for Counterterrorism Agents
9. Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute Seeks Entries for High School Juniors
SALDEF Encourages Senate Confirmation of Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder
Over the past eight years, SALDEF has been at the forefront of fighting against many of the civil rights and civil liberty abuses that occurred as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These include the illegal detention of American citizens after the attacks without cause or right to counsel, the torturing of detainees, infringement upon the privacy of Americans, and the politicization of the United States Department of Justice, including the Civil Rights Division.
US Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder has been a steadfast advocate of the United States Constitution and an individual of indelible character. When he was a United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, he started the first Bias Crimes Task Force which established a federal, state, local, and community-based partnership to combat hate crimes and bias in the community. Similar partnerships have been developed in dozens of cities across the United States using this exact model.
SALDEF encourages the United States Senate to confirm US Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder so that he may begin providing independent leadership on many of the difficult policy and management decisions that have plagued the Justice Department for the past eight years.
Please contact your Senator at (202) 224-3121 and encourage them to “Support, without delay, Eric Holder”s confirmation for United States Attorney General.”
SALDEF Recognized for Work on Behalf of Sikh American Community
On December 25, 2008 at the annual Darbar-E-Khalsa in Southern California, celebrating the Gurpurab of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, SALDEF was recognized by the International Institute of Gurmat Studies (IIGS) with their Sikh Rights Advocacy Award. The award was presented to SALDEF at a gathering of thousands of Sikhs from across California and the Western United States, “in appreciation and recognition of distinguished service to the Sikh Community of the USA, by protecting the civil rights of Sikh Americans and fighting against cases of hate crimes and discrimination against them.” SALDEF would like to thank IIGS for this tremendous honor and congratulate them on the success of this annual event.
SALDEF Accepting Applications for 2009 Summer Internship Program
Intern with SALDEF
The SALDEF Internship Program offers Sikh American youth an opportunity to be uniquely positioned to advocate for national policy issues on behalf of Sikhs. The program educates students on issues of civil rights, public policy and the legislative process. Students will gain hands-on experience in community organizing, research, writing, legal issues affecting the community, political action, and educational outreach. Current opportunities available include: Legal Research, Legislative, Communications and Development Interns.
Click here for more information.
SALDEF Advises Obama/Biden Presidential Transition Team on Civil Rights Concerns
December 18, 2008: SALDEF Legal Director Rajdeep Singh Jolly met with transition group members to discuss post 9/11 policy and legislative concerns. The meeting was coordinated by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and was attended by representatives of other local and national organizations.
December 17, 2008: SALDEF was the sole Sikh American community representative at the National Asian American and Pacific Islander Leaders meeting to discuss with Transition Advisory Board Members and Senior Staff, the concerns of the Sikh American community. Additionally, SALDEF discussed and delivered its Presidential Transition Memorandum to the Transition Team. A brief summary video on the meeting, which was produced by the Obama/Biden Administration, can be found here.
December 15, 2008 : SALDEF met with Transition Team members to discuss the 2010 Census. SALDEF advocated for a more robust and inclusive outreach efforts to the Sikh and South Asian American communities. The Census is a critical government program that ensures segments of the population are counted correctly. The data provided by the Census can be used to enhance the long term advocacy and political representation of Sikhs in the United States.
December 15, 2008 : SALDEF, the only Sikh American organization advocating for national legislation to combat hate crimes, met with Transition Team members to ensure that national hate crime legislation and combating bias attacks is a top priority for the new Administration. SALDEF was able to confirm that preventing hate crimes and hate crime legislation would be top priorities for the incoming Obama Administration.
December 8, 2008: SALDEF met with the Civil Rights Task Force of the Transition Team on efforts to combat racial profiling of Sikh Americans in a variety of contexts. SALDEF advocated for the Transportation Security Agency to institute ethnic and racial data collection efforts, passage of the End Racial Profiling Act, and amendments to the Justice Department Racial profiling Guidelines and the Mukasey FBI Investigative Guidelines.
SALDEF Meets with Senate Democratic Leadership
On December 16, 2008, SALDEF met with the U.S. Senate Democratic Leadership and Committee members to inform them of the national priorities of the Sikh American community. This meeting is part of SALDEF’s ongoing effort to ensure that the Sikh American community has a strong voice in the halls of Congress and to hold our elected officials accountable to the community. SALDEF discussed U.S. Military policy that denies Sikh Americans the right to serve in the Armed Services, hate crime and religious freedom legislation, and the need for Senate Leadership to commit to meeting with various members of the religious community in the United States on a recurring basis.
SALDEF Pressures Justice Department and FBI on New Intrusive Investigative Guidelines
True to our mission as the only national Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization, SALDEF provides a Sikh American voice to many of the critical civil rights challenges our nation faces, including holding the Justice Department accountable when it oversteps its bounds by changing decades of proper investigative techniques.
SALDEF has been engaged in high-level and confidential discussions about the Attorney General Mukasey Guidelines which allowed for increased intrusive investigative techniques for non-criminal behavior. SALDEF worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review and provide comments to the Domestic Investigative Operations Guidelines (DIOG) and to ensure that civil liberties are protected and the U.S. Constitution is defended.
SALDEF Participates in Homeland Security RoundTable
SALDEF Managing Director Kavneet Singh participated on a panel at the Department of Homeland Security”s Youth Roundtable on November 12, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA. Joining Mr. Singh on the panel was Ms. Fatima Rahmatullah of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The panel was meant to highlight the role of the Media and Hollywood and the challenges and opportunities it poses for members of the Sikh, Arab, Muslim and South Asian American communities. The panel also discussed examples of positive and negative images in mainstream media, and how youth leaders can work to achieving the ends they would like to see.
SALDEF Conducts Cultural Awareness Training for Counterterrorism Agents
Bezos Scholas Program at the Aspen Institute Seeks Entries for High School Juniors
The Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute, a collaboration between the Bezos Family Foundation and the Aspen Institute, is designed to bring together twelve of the United States” top high school juniors to engage in seminars and informal meetings with the international leaders, thinkers, and creative artists who participate in the annual Aspen Ideas Festival (June 30 – July 6, 2009).
The program provides the participating juniors with seven-day, all-expense-paid scholarships to attend the festival. An educator from each student”s school also will be awarded a full scholarship, thereby offering a unique leadership development opportunity for students and educators. At the Aspen Ideas Festival, the scholars have opportunities to speak one-on-one with world leaders, global thinkers, and acclaimed entertainers. Past scholars have met with inventor Dean Kamen, Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O”Connor, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and President Bill Clinton, among others. Following their time in Aspen, the Student Scholar/Educator Scholar teams will return home and apply for $1,000 School Award Grants to use in creating local Ideas Festivals in their schools.