The Biden campaign has launched an initiative to reach out to the Sikh community in the United States and is committed to addressing the unique challenges, including xenophobia, facing the country’s minority religious group.
The Biden campaign, which pitched the “ Sikh Americans for Biden, ” said it plans to protect young American Sikhs in schools.
Sikh Americans are being bullied at rates twice the national average and have reported a peak in such encounters since 2017, the campaign said in a press release on Sunday.
The Biden campaign plans to highlight specific plans and policies that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden outlined in his platform to address the unique challenges facing the American Sikh community in relation to racism, the xenophobia and discrimination, ”he said.
Kiran Kaur Gill, a prominent civil rights activist and member of the Sikh American National Leadership Council, said President Donald Trump not only turned a blind eye to bullying and discrimination, but also encouraged it.
The National Sikh American Leadership Council is an advisory board to Sikh Americans for Biden.
With Biden as US president, Sikh Americans can feel safer in schools and on the streets, Kiran Kaur Gill said in a statement.
“(Former) Vice President Biden has a proven track record in taking a stand against hate, discrimination and bullying, and his leadership on these issues is important to our community,” she said.
The Biden campaign said that if voted into office, the Biden administration would allocate additional federal funding to anti-bullying initiatives.
According to civil rights activist Valarie Kaur, “This election is unlike any other. Everything our Sikh ancestors fought for – a world of dignity, equality and justice – is at stake.”
“A Biden presidency would give us a chance – to save our democracy, to heal the earth, and to begin to bring about a world where we see no strangers. This is why I am proud to join the Sikhs for Biden – and do everything in his power to get the vote out. Our lives depend on it, ”she said Sunday in a statement released by South Asians for Biden.
Japjee Singh, an anti-bullying advocate, detailed the horrific bullying that took place at his high school in Georgia. In 2013, when he was 17, Singh was repeatedly the target of verbal and physical harassment because of his Sikh religion. He was described as a “terrorist” and his comrades targeted him for wearing the turban. Singh’s bullying case led to the first bullying settlement at a US Department of Justice school on behalf of a Sikh student.
“There are many systems in place that prevent victims of bullying from being heard and validated. Often times these victims are seen as the abusers; they are not. Biden is committed to changing those systems, so we can provide get survivors of bullying the support they need, ”Singh said.
In a joint statement, Josh Dickson, director of national faith engagement for the Biden campaign, and Seema Sadanandan, political advisor for the campaign, said Biden had engaged in a number of initiatives that garner a strong support from the Sikh-American community.
For example, a Biden administration would allocate additional funds to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education for anti-bullying initiatives. Biden also cited specific plans to re-establish the Obama-Biden task force. on bullying prevention from the AAPI White House, which would be in partnership with community organizations, including Sikh nonprofits, “they said.