So I decided to try something different and put together a little presentation on SALDEF. I’ve been a volunteer for SALDEF since 1998, when I helped make one of their first web sites. Since then I’ve represented SALDEF in various settings, trained police officers, and given talks in schools.
Let me know what you think. Do you want more video reports like this? Better yet, do you want to be interviewed?
Over the years, SALDEF has been organizing police training sessions. Kudos to all involved!
Year-Long Campaign Trains Entire Boston Police Force
Washington, D.C. - December 11, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights organization, concluded a highly successful year-long campaign to train the entire Boston Police Department (BPD) on Sikh religious practices. The over 3,000 BPD officers join the 95,000 trained by SALDEF across the nation.
The Sikh Coalition reports that a cab driver has been brutally attacked in Seattle. It happened this past Saturday. As a Seattle Sikh myself, I’m confident the Seattle Sikh Community and the King County Police will pursue the details of this case until justice is served.
(Seattle, WA) November 26, 2007 - A Sikh cab driver was brutally assaulted by a passenger on Saturday, the night of Gurpurab. Sukhvir Singh’s attacker threatened to kill him, calling him a “terrorist” as he punched and bit him, pulling locks of hair from his head. The Sikh Coalition calls on the King’s County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to prosecute the incident as a hate crime.
The full PR after the jump.
So as you know, the TSA quietly changed its screening guidelines in August and Sikhs were being searched–some were being asked to remove their turbans–without ever setting off a metal detector or wand. This was a big step backward from the consistent screening policies implemented by the TSA after 9/11. Anyway, the new policy, as jointly announced by Sikh Coalition and SALDEF (with verbatim, time-synchronized press releases to boot)
- Turbans will not be listed in any TSA guidance as an item that should be subject to additional screening.
- The TSA recognized that security screeners should not be allowed to touch a Sikh’s turban indiscriminately, and should seek explicit consent before doing so, if no alarm has been set off.
- By accommodating religious head coverings, the TSA has acknowledged the distinction between secular and religious garb, including the Sikh turban.
- Before the Thanksgiving 2007 travel season, all 43,000 TSA screeners will undergo the following mandatory training about Sikhs:
- View On Common Ground (see previous post) Sikh American Cultural Awareness Training for Law Enforcement.
- Receive copies of the Common Sikh American Head Coverings poster.
I’ve attached both Press Releases after the jump.
All TSA Screeners are required to watch this movie before Thanksgiving 2007. It’s been produced by the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service, and the Sikh American Legal Defense Fund. It does a great job of explaining who Sikhs are, and what to do as a TSA screener or law-enforcement officer interacting with Sikhs. It also provides a great general overview for interested citizens.
UPDATE: 2/6/2007 You can now watch this video at higher quality on the DOJ Site!
Update: 11/30/2007 SALDEF reports that over 60,000 law enforcement officials have watched this video!
SALDEF has done an awesome job working with the US Department of Justice Community Relations Service. One example of that is the many trainings that have been going on in the years since 9/11. Here’s the press release.