In 2019, I came onboard as Executive Director and witnessed the incredible legacy SALDEF has built over the years and the profound impact of SALDEF’s programs.
SALDEF is a credible and well-respected voice here in Washington DC on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Nothing more clearly exemplified this to me than the meeting SALDEF had with the President of the United State alongside other Asian American leaders earlier this year. Our community quite literally had a seat at the table. I was able to talk to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris about issues affecting our community including hate crimes, representation and the recent mass shooting in Indianapolis and within two days I had follow up from the FBI and other agencies about issues I raised at the meeting.
As a volunteer for SALDEF, I have seen the incredible impact of SALDEF training programs for Law Enforcement, TSA, the FBI and other agencies. In many of the trainings I have conducted, it is the first time that officers or agents have learned about Sikhism and the Sikh American community.
Through SALDEF’s SikhLEAD program, I have seen young Sikh Americans interning in legislative offices and sharing Sikh American perspectives, organizing langar on Capitol Hill, creating Sikh films for PBS, launching the first-ever National Sikh American survey or briefing Congressional staff on critical community issues such as the farmer protest. Many SikhLEAD Alumni have gone on to work on Capitol Hill, in the White House or run for elected office and literally be at the table where decisions are being made.
Over the last 25 years, it is clear that SALDEF is not only raising the Sikh American voice but is committed to supporting all of us in effectively raising our voice and unlocking our potential to make a strong impact. I hope you will take this opportunity to support SALDEF so we can continue to raise the Sikh American voice, unlock our community’s tremendous potential and build the leaders of tomorrow.
The next chapter of this work depends on you.
Kiran Kaur Gill
SALDEF Executive Director