Sikhs Fill the Streets of Richmond Hill

June 30, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Sikh Coalition/Portside Post

Hundreds of Sikhs, stung by two recent incidents of hate crimes against Sikh public school students, marched through the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens today to protest attacks on Sikh children in city schools. The march, estimated by police to number over three hundred, included a large contingent from Boston and Sikhs from New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina.

On June 9, Gurprit Kaur, a student at Public School 219 in Flushing, Queens, discovered that another student had cut off a portion of her religiously-mandated uncut hair and discarded it. This is the second major attack on Sikh public school student in June. On June 3, Jagmohan Singh Premi was punched in the face after a student intentionally attempted to remove his patka (smaller turban).at Richmond Hill High School. In addition, during May 2007 a Sikh boy's hair was forcibly cut by another student in a hate crime.

City Sikhs and their allies marched today in the hundreds to Richmond Hill High School, the site of the brutal June 3 assault on Jagmohan Singh Premi. March participants demanded that the city take action to specifically protect Sikh students from bias-based harassment.

The Sikh Coalition has found that Sikh children are particularly vulnerable to bias-based harassment. This past April, the Sikh Coalition released a civil rights report, "Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City Sikhs," which found that more than 60% of over 400 Sikh students that the Coalition surveyed had suffered bias-based harassment or violence in city schools.

See also: Sikhism, Schools