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Sikh Coalition urges Biden to appoint Sikh American liaison in wake of Indianapolis FedEx shooting

The Sikh Coalition said the Biden administration should appoint a Sikh American liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement to ensure a 'wide range of the community’s voices are heard and acted upon.'

A body is taken from the scene where multiple people were shot at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Friday, April 16, 2021. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(RNS) — In the wake of the FedEx shooting that left eight people dead, including four members of the Sikh community, the Sikh Coalition wants President Joe Biden’s administration to enact policies to address “long standing challenges” impacting Sikh Americans.

To begin doing so, the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group, said the Biden administration should appoint a Sikh American liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement to ensure a “wide range of the community’s voices are heard and acted upon.”

In an April 17 letter addressed to the Biden administration, the Sikh Coalition said, “Our community has largely felt ignored in the aftermath of 9/11 backlash hate attacks and discrimination, and continues to see the reverberations of hate, bullying, profiling and discrimination with far reaching consequences even to this day.” 

The coalition said the Biden administration should also share public awareness about Sikh Americans through public visits.


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It stressed the importance of Biden meeting with the impacted families in Indianapolis, as well as with the Sikh American community on the upcoming Aug. 5 anniversary of the Oak Creek shooting that in 2012 killed six people at a Sikh gurdwara near Milwaukee.

While the FedEx shooter’s motive was not yet known, the coalition said it’s important for Biden’s administration to recognize the “attacker’s knowledge of this workplace.

“Who he was targeting must be taken into account when the Administration acknowledges the impact of hate, bias and white supremacist activity affecting our communities,” the coalition said.

The coalition wants Biden to relaunch interagency hate crime meetings and create a federal task force with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Hate crime reporting, the coalition said, should be improved by passing the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act and “ensuring that all law enforcement agencies are required to report hate crimes.”

The coalition also wants Biden to reintroduce and pass the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act and the Disarm Hate Act to “close the loophole that limits federal prosecution of mixed motive hate crimes” and “to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”

Lastly, the coalition wants Biden to ensure all spaces of worship, including Sikh gurdwaras across the country, are provided with assistance in order to obtain federal funding from sources such as the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

“Our community is far too often left to navigate the complex grant system without technical assistance, language access, or adequate time to take advantage of critical funding to protect our communities from another act of domestic terror,” the Sikh Coalition said.