“Congress should take motion,” Amrith Kaur Aakre instructed members of the Home Judiciary Subcommittee on Structure, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties throughout a latest Congressional listening to on Discrimination and Civil Proper.
Aakre is authorized director of the Sikh Coalition.
“Office discrimination harms Sikhs in a spread of private and non-private sector jobs together with transportation, leisure, well being care, the army and legislation enforcement by permitting for the biased interpretation and software of presidency insurance policies and legal guidelines.
“We have seen Sikhs keen to place their lives on the road in defence of their cities and nation, solely to be instructed that uniform and grooming insurance policies prohibit their articles of religion,” she stated.
“We’ve seen Sikhs ordered to chop their hair for work-related drug testing even when different means are available.
“And we have seen Sikh first responders within the combat towards COVID-19 pressured to shave their religiously mandated beards as an alternative of being given applicable, secure private protecting tools that does not intervene with their religion,” Aakre stated.
Whatever the particulars, again and again these insurance policies are interpreted in a method which disproportionately impacts minority communities and our system permits it to maintain occurring, she stated.
“We additionally obtain Sikh travellers’ studies of inappropriate calls for to take away articles of religion, discriminatory feedback by TSA brokers and different profiling in our airports,” she instructed the lawmakers.
“It is a humiliating hindrance for Sikhs and different non secular and racial minorities, members of the transgender group and others. And extra discriminatory practices like no-fly record and the lingering results of the earlier administration’s Muslim ban proceed to perpetuate profiling towards too many individuals,” she stated.
Responding to a query, Aakre stated TSA profiling for Sikh Individuals and different minority teams has at all times been an issue.
Bias towards travellers is prevalent at each stage of the travelling course of and it begins with the truth that the TSA brokers don’t obtain satisfactory coaching on TSA insurance policies or cultural competencies, which is obvious from the second many stigmatized teams arrive on the airport and need to undergo behavioural detection earlier than reaching safety.
In response to a different query from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, she stated Sikh American college students expertise excessive charges of bullying and harassment in our nation’s public faculties they usually proceed receiving and documenting nationwide studies of faculty bullying.
“Sikh boys who put on turbans are known as terrorists and ladies are teased for having lengthy hair. And lots of of those kids are subjected to violence.
“Our analysis exhibits that almost all of Sikh kids, over 50 per cent, have endured college bullying. Over two-thirds or 67 per cent reported that they have been bullied in class and turban Sikh kids skilled bullying at greater than double the nationwide price,” Jackson Lee stated.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who’s the primary and solely South Asian American girl elected to the Home of Representatives, stated 9/11 eternally modified what it means to be Muslim, Arab, or South Asian American in America.
“Within the days and weeks after, I acquired fearful calls from people within the Sikh, Muslim and Arab-American group who have been being attacked for carrying turbans or hijabs. I heard from mothers and dads who have been afraid to ship their youngsters to highschool, a concern that I shared for my very own baby,” she stated.
Jayapal stated her decision, H Res. 629, recognises the local weather of hate that Arab, Muslim, Center Jap, South Asian and Sikh communities have skilled since September 11 and requires motion to handle the occasion’s lasting impacts.
“I hope this listening to turns into one step of many to look at and in the end dismantle 9/11 period insurance policies which have perpetuated and exacerbated discrimination towards these communities,” she stated.