(Washington DC—6/8/2011) On Sunday June 5, 2011, SALDEF held its annual Southern California Fundraising Banquet at the Diamond Bar Center in Diamond Bar, CA. The event served as an opportunity to highlight SALDEF’s advocacy work and strengthen outreach with the local Sikh community. The event was attended by over 350 community members, who helped surpass our fundraising goal! Jagdeep Singh, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist, delivered the keynote address, sharing how Sikh values informed his path and guided his success. Jagdeep is the co-founder and CEO of Quantum Scape Corporation, as well as the cofounder and former CEO of several successful technology startups. His philanthropic interests center on education, supporting various Sikh causes and institutions, and endowing professorships at Stanford University. SALDEF Western Regional Director Bhupinder Kaur expanded on the organization's key grassroots efforts and community empowerment programs, such as Know Your Rights forums, trainings done under SALDEF’s Law Enforcement Partnership Program, and Sikh Awareness presentations at local schools. Mrs. Kaur applauded the local community for leading efforts in activism and garnering a positive image of the Sikh community, in conjunction with area gurdwaras. "It is a defining moment in terms of our ability to grasp who we are and our legacy in this country. This current anti-immigrant climate has affected us and it's also a moment for our community to decide whether to be victims or step forward and remind our country of our constitutional and founding values," Kaur said. SALDEF representatives Jasjit Singh, Associate Executive Director, and Birpal Kaur, Community Relations Associate, also apprised community members of various initiatives to challenge racial profiling and proactively address hate crimes and school bullying. Jasjit Singh added: "It's important for us to celebrate the successes, but it's extremely important to know about the challenges as well, because out of challenges arise opportunities." The evening ended with the presentation of a $5,000 grant from the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California by its President, Puneet Kakkar. Entertainment included the Mehndi Group, local performers Gunjiv Singh “Baagi”, Jagmeet Singh “Hoodini”, and a Dhadee Jatha. SALDEF especially thanks community members and the gurdwaras of Southern California for their efforts in planning this successful and memorable event, as well as event photographer Jag Reyatt.