* SALDEF Encourages All Sikh Americans to VOTE Tomorrow * ADL Concert to Honor Balbir Singh Sodhi * Know Your Rights Forum in LA * Government Launches Anti-Bullying Website * SALDEF Participates in Southern California Youth Mentorship Program * One Year Anniversary of Hate Crime Prevention Act * SALDEF Signs on to Several Amicus Briefs to Support Civil and Religious Liberties * US Immigration Services Redesigns Naturalization Certificates * Upcoming Events SALDEF Encourages All Sikh Americans to VOTE Tomorrow The November 2nd General Elections are tomorrow, with many intiatives and candidates that need your voice and input. The elections process is a celebrated institution at the root of our democracy. SALDEF urges all Sikh American citizens to take this opportunity to ensure that every Sikh American fulfills this vital civic duty and VOTE! Visit www.866OurVote.org to find your voting place, understand the type of identification you might be asked to provide, and report voting problems. The Election Protection Hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-888-687-8683). To find out more information about voting tomorrow visit: http://www.apiavote.org/ ADL Concert to Honor Balbir Singh Sodhi The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the nation's premier civil rights organizations and a key SALDEF partner, is hosting their annual ADL In Concert Against Hate at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on November 15, 2010 at 8:30pm. This year, the ADL will honor Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first hate-crime murder in the wave of post-9/11 backlash, Mr. Sodhi was tragically murdered outside of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who wanted to kill a Muslim in retaliation for September 11. He selected Mr. Sodhi simply because he had a beard and wore a turban. The concert will be performed by the National Symphony with awards narrated by members from the cast of Glee. We encourage Sikhs to attend this event and participate in honoring the memory of Mr. Sodhi. If you would like to attend, please send us an email with the guests in your party by Wednesday, November 3rd. Know Your Rights Forum in Southern California As a part of SALDEF's ongoing effort to empower the community to understand their civil rights and strengthen partnerships with key government agencies, SALDEF will be holding a Know Your Rights (KYR) forum for the Sikh American community of Los Angeles on Sunday, November 14, from 2 – 4 pm. Representatives from the FBI, DOJ and EEOC will be in attendance, as well as recruiters from these agencies to talk about job opportunities. For additional information about this event, or if you would like to organize a similar event in your community, please contact us. Government Launches Anti-Bullying Website The Department of Education has issued guidance to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. We encourage you to access the following new website by the Department of Education – Bullying Info – which is a “one stop shop” for all federal resources on bullying. The site will be updated from time to time with new and additional resources for educators, students, parents and community members who are working to end bullying. SALDEF Participates in Southern California Youth Mentorship Program SALDEF recently participated in a prominent community outreach program called Stopping Hate And Delinquency by Empowering Students (SHADES) in Los Angeles, CA. The program provides youth juror training for a specialized Teen Court that focuses on crimes rooted in prejudice and bias on inner-city campuses in Los Angeles. The goal of the program is to train the youth participants to serve as informed and effective jurors in these school-based cases. Bhupinder Kaur, SALDEF Western Regional Director, conducted a workshop on hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents, explaining the affect that hate motivated actions have had upon the Sikh American community. The students engaged in a discussion about hate motivated violence and crimes. Such outreach efforts educate the community not only about the challenges that Sikh Americans face, but more importantly about the values of our faith. Marking the One Year Anniversary of the Hate Crime Prevention Act On October 28, 2009, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law by President Obama. Named after two victims of bias-motivated crimes, the law expanded the existing federal hate crime law giving the Department of Justice the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence based on the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. SALDEF was a member of the coalition that worked to garner support for this important piece of legislation. If you feel you are the victim of a bias-motivated incident, please contact SALDEF. SALDEF Signs on to Several Amicus Briefs to Support Civil and Religious Liberties SALDEF joined in submitting an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit in Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security, which challenges the government’s policies, procedures, and implementation of the No-Fly List, which has increasingly been used as a tool of manipulation and control. A positive outcome in this case will help curb this abusive practice. In another case, alongside the ACLU and other parties, SALDEF submitted an amicus brief to the Seventh Circuit in Does v. Elmbrook School District, a case challenging public-school graduations held in a church near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The brief argues that the policy of holding graduations in a church sanctuary is unconstitutional because it is coercive, sends a message of religious endorsement, and creates religious divisiveness. By serving as a amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” SALDEF hopes to influence the outcome of these important cases. U.S. Immigration Services Redesigns Naturalization Certificate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of a redesigned Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550) with new security features. The new certificate features the naturalization candidate’s digitized photo and signature embedded into the document. The background also features a color-shifting ink pattern that is difficult to reproduce. All previously issued Certificates of Naturalization will remain valid.