June 27, 2022 (Washington, DC) — This past Saturday, thousands of people joined the first-ever Unity March in person in Washington, DC, and virtually. The Sikh Coalition was proud to serve as a partner for the March and to be in attendance at this historic moment.
The Unity March brought advocates and allies to DC in an Asian American multicultural event to advance socioeconomic and cultural equity, racial justice, and solidarity. There were speeches by survivors of hate violence and community leaders, including award-winning producer and trans rights advocate Geena Rocero, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, actor Parvesh Cheena, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, and R&B/Pop artist Thuy. Sikh voices and stories were also represented during the program, including those of Pardeep Kaleka, whose father was killed in the 2012 Oak Creek gurdwara shooting; JJ Kapur, a young champion orator; Tarina Ahuja, a college activist who founded Young Khalsa Girls; and Komal Chohan, whose grandmother was killed in last year’s Indianapolis mass shooting at the FedEx ground facility.
“This march is timely given that 2022 is a significant year of anniversaries. This month, we honor the 40th anniversary of the hate-driven murder of Vincent Chin. In August, we will observe the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek massacre. And earlier this year, we marked one-year since the deadly mass shootings in both Atlanta and Indianapolis,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy. “Asian American communities, along with other communities of color, continue to grapple with violence and harassment. An event like this shows the collective power and influence we can have when our voices, stories, and rights are asserted.”
The Sikh Coalition was proud to serve as a partner for the Unity March, and we are grateful to founding organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, Gold House, Indian American Impact Project, NAKASEC, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Advocate, and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) for creating a space for Asian American advocates and allies to come together as one community. The March brought together a diverse array of the Asian diaspora with partners across the LGBTQ+, Muslim, Sikh, disability communities, Indigenous and Pacific Islander, Latino, and Arab communities. Finally, we want to offer a special thank you to SALDEF for ensuring that the Sikh perspective was well represented throughout the program.
“We at Act to Change envision a world that is free of bullying and hate. I joined the Unity March to support the local community as well as those who have shown up nationally,” said Jamie Lok from Act to Change. “I was excited to be in attendance with the Sikh Coalition, who was one of our key collaborators when Act to Change was getting up and started with the Obama Administration.” Act to Change was just one of many critical allied organizations that participated in this important event, and the Sikh Coalition looks forward to additional joint advocacy activities as we continue our shared fight for civil rights.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.