US-Based Sikh Advocacy Groups Welcome Biden-Harris Administration

—A number of US-based advocacy groups welcomed the inauguration of President Biden and Vice-President Harris. The Biden-Harris administration was sworn in yesterday and declared history. While Kamala Harris became the first women vice president, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders on top issues that face the country.

In a press statement, the Sikh American Legal Deference and Education Fund executive director Kiran Kaur Gill said –

“SALDEF is looking forward to working with President Biden and Vice-President Harris. As we see the rollout of these executive orders, we find many of our values and priorities in line with those of the new administration. We hope that the next four years will be productive and that we can work in collaboration with the White House.”

In a significant move for religious freedom and tolerance, the President has repealed President Trump’s Muslim Ban. The order promoted stigmas against the Muslim community and encouraged bias against immigrant communities. Its repeal represents a major policy victory for SALDEF, and we continue to advocate for the passage of the NO BAN Act. 

The Biden administration also took steps to counter the years of an anti-immigrant policy of the past administration. SALDEF is encouraged by the new administration’s actions to strengthen DACA and seek a solution for the Dreamers, reprioritize enforcement, and stop construction of the border wall. Further, the administration took steps to ensure that all persons, regardless of background, are included in the Census count, determining representation in Congress and the states.

“SALDEF is encouraged that the administration has taken a stand to promote diversity and equity. Notably, the President has repealed the ban on diversity training at the federal level, allowing the Sikh American community to promote cultural awareness amongst policymakers and government officials. Further, the administration has repealed discriminatory rules targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The President also ordered a government-wide initiative to advance racial equity,” Kiran Kaur Gill stated.

Shortly after the inauguration, the Sikh Coalition welcomed Joe Biden to the White House. Sikh Coalition said that it is the People’s Inauguration while referring to the Biden-Harris administration’s swearing-in. “Today marks a new beginning for countless American families,” the Sikh Coalition tweeted after President Biden ended the Muslim ban.

Sikh Coalition also sent a letter to the new administration to support India’s farmers and stand for human rights.

“In the letter, we ask President Biden to release a statement reminding Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government that peaceful protest–without the fear of violence and intimidation–is a fundamental right in a democracy. We also request that the State Department monitor the increasing number of retaliatory actions against farmers, protestors, and others who support the movement and that the new administration holds Prime Minister Modi and other government officials accountable for their past and ongoing human rights abuses,” Sikh Coalition said.

Dr. Rajwant Singh, Founder of EcoSikh and Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), also welcomed Biden’s inauguration and said, “We are pleased that Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States. We are very confident that he will bring the nation together, a task which is critically needed in the face of pandemic and deep polarization in America.”
 
Joe Biden has pledged to unite America, and even the theme of Biden’s inauguration was “America United.” He made lots of appeals to unity in his inaugural address. He said, “We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness, and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historical moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”
 
Dr. Singh said, “The Sikh community is ready to help President Biden achieve his agenda for America. The nation is facing immense challenges of a health crisis due to pandemic and the economic downturn. Biden has demonstrated on day one that he is serious about his commitment to take this nation in the right direction. His lifting up the Muslim travel ban and the decision to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement shows that he will take corrective measures to display American leadership on the world stage.”

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