ACLU Attends Dallas Gurdwara to Educate Sikh Community

January 21, 2008

Author: Press Release

Source: United Sikhs

"This is the most fun that I have ever had on the job,” said American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Texas Legal Director Lisa Graybill with a smile as she and her colleagues addressed the congregation of Gurdwara Singh Sabha of North Texas last Sunday with an informational presentation about Sikhs’ rights. This incident marks the first time ACLU executives have ever been inside a gurdwara to address a group of Sikhs directly, and approximately 500 Sikhs were in attendance.

The presentation urged Sikhs to know their rights, informing the congregation of their right to wear articles of faith including the turban, kara (steel bangle), and the kirpan. Also discussed was one’s right to remain silent when questioned by police or to ask for a lawyer, immigration issues, as well as children’s rights in schools to not be harassed or coerced by school officials to remove any religious article and the right not to be bullied. Congregants were also made aware of their rights as citizens of Texas in addition to their Constitutional rights, specifically focusing on how one can act in the presence of police and other authorities in order to protect oneself and one’s loved ones from discrimination. Also in attendance was James Canup, ACLU Texas Development Director, who expressed a hope that meeting such as this one will persuade Sikhs to become more active in articulating their issues. “We aspire that many Sikhs will become members and enhance the ACLU and diversify its makeup," he remarked.