Sikh Organization Receives 2021 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

“SALDEF served as a bridge between FBI personnel and American Sikhs”

The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) has won the 2021 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for the Washington Field Office (WFO).

SALDEF Executive Director Kiran Kaur Gill and Program Director Sharan Singh accepted this year’s award on behalf of SALDEF from Deputy Director Steven M. D’Antuono on June 27.

Read: NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla Honored at 2019 SALDEF Gala (April 11, 2019)

SALDEF, a nonprofit Sikh American education, media, and policy organization, supports Sikh Americans by building dialogue, deepening understanding, promoting civic and political participation, and advocating for social justice and freedom. religious.

Throughout 2021, FBI WFO personnel and SALDEF representatives worked together to cultivate relationships between federal agents and American Sikhs, according to a WFO press release.

“The FBI and SALDEF have different functions, but we share a common goal: to protect the lives and freedoms of the American people,” D’Antuono said.

“SALDEF served as a bridge between FBI personnel and American Sikhs, helping us learn more about the people we serve and helping them learn more about the work we do to protect their community.”

Read: SALDEF concludes the first part of its 6th annual SikhLEAD leadership program in Los Angeles, CA (March 17, 2017)

From December 2020 to December 2021, SALDEF representatives participated in several FBI WFO cultural engagement councils, which led to valuable feedback regarding interactions between law enforcement and American Sikhs, according to the release. .

As a result, SALDEF held a presentation on Sikh American culture and history for dozens of FBI personnel and cited best practices for interacting with Sikh Americans.

“The better we know our communities, the better we can serve them,” D’Antuono said. “Cultural awareness training is crucial because it helps the FBI build trusting relationships with the public. People in our communities need to know that they can count on us to protect them.

SALDEF began bringing law enforcement and local communities together through its Law Enforcement Partnership Program in 1999.

SALDEF representatives have partnered with organizations across the country and trained more than 100,000 federal and local officers on best practices in cultural awareness and community relations, the statement said.

Read: Sikh-American organization named recipient of 2021 FBI Community Leadership Award (June 29, 2022)

SALDEF serves as a resource and voice for the Sikh American community on political issues that affect not only Sikh Americans but all Americans, including employment discrimination, racial profiling, school harassment, voting rights and women’s rights, he said.

Since 1990, FBI offices have nominated a person or organization for an FBI DCLA in recognition of the nominee’s contributions to crime prevention in their communities, according to the release.

Aubrey L. Morgan