Introducing SALDEF's Summer Interns Earlier this year, SALDEF introduced the Congressional Internship Program to place Sikh Americans in internships on Capitol Hill. This summer's offices include Representative Mike Honda (CA) and Representative David Wu (OR). Since 2000, over 35 students have participated in the SALDEF Internship Program. Interns work at SALDEF’s national office in Washington, DC or in our Los Angeles, CA office to gain first-hand experience and knowledge about SALDEF’s programs and campaigns to empower the Sikh American community. We are pleased to welcome this summer’s intern class. Congressional Interns Harmeet Kaur – Congressional Intern with Representative Mike Honda A recipient of the academic year and summer Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarships, Harmeet recently graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Arts in South Asian Studies. Her work focused on caste relations in Punjab, and her research took her to Queens, New York to work with the Ravidasi community and document their experiences of caste-based discrimination. Harmeet now wants to combine her academic experience with activism and comes to SALDEF with hopes of improving the representation of Sikhs in the U.S. Along with fighting for minority rights, Harmeet wants to bring attention to caste-based discrimination that occurs within the Sikh community. Shabd Singh Khalsa – Congressional Intern with Representative David Wu Shabd Singh Khalsa is a senior at the University of Oregon working towards a B.S. in Planning, Public Policy, and Management. Shabd grew up in the DC area and attended Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar, India from 1999-2005. Shabd is involved in his local Eugene, Oregon community with various service projects. He has also served at Sikh Youth camps as a youth counselor. On campus, he is an active member of the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group and was recently confirmed as the Executive Appointee to the Athletic Contracts Finance Committee, which drafts a $4 million budget for the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, the largest student government in the country. In his free time, Shabd enjoys music and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. SALDEF Summer Interns Jasleen Kaur – Communications Intern (Los Angeles, CA) Jasleen is entering her third year at the University of California, Berkeley as an Anthropology major. She is highly involved in her local community, attending Sikh conferences, as a leader of her Sikh Student Association, and researching civil rights issues on campus. Her enthusiasm for creating awareness about Sikhs and civil rights has led her to intern with SALDEF for a second summer. She will be conducting bullying prevention surveys throughout the summer, blogging about her experiences as an intern and various topics, and assisting with the drafting of community releases. Gurrajan Singh – Development Intern (Washington, DC) Gurrajan recently graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Political Science. An aspiring politician, Gurrajan served on Student Senate as the Community Affairs Chair and as the President of the Sikh Student Association. While in Detroit, Gurrajan engaged the community to improve student life through dialogue with local community and business leaders. Over the years, Gurrajan has worked to create awareness and educate the general public about Sikhs. His desire to bring about positive development in the Sikh community motivated him to join SALDEF. Jasleen Kaur – Legislative Intern (Washington, DC) Jasleen has grown up as an active member of the Sikh community of Maryland. She was heavily involved with the annual Hemkunt International Symposium, where she participated for many years. She has also taught at the local Khalsa School and was an initial founder of the Sikh Connection Workshop. After graduating from Drexel University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in English, she has worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and with General Counsel at CNSI, a business in Rockville, Maryland. She also volunteers with CASA of Montgomery, a guardian ad-litem program helping reunite children with their natural parents.