"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Educational Consultation with Department of Justice (CRS) on Sikh Culture

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole Speaks at the Community Relations Service Sikh Cultural Competency Training Preview

Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“It is a great honor to join all of you as CRS previews the Department’s new cultural competency training. I would like to acknowledge the members of SALDEF, United Sikhs, the Sikh Coalition and the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination for their ongoing assistance and support for CRS. (emphasis added) I would also like to recognize Harpreet Singh Mokha, the Regional Director of CRS’ Philadelphia office, who will conduct today’s presentation.

This training could not be more timely. The tragic events in Oak Creek, Wisconsin just last month are a chilling reminder of the need to do all we can to foster tolerance, understanding, and respect among the diverse faiths, communities and peoples that make up America. Sikh Americans have been part of the American family for many decades – and in fact this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the first Sikh Gurdwara in the United States. Yet many do not understand the long history of the Sikh faith and culture in America. It is our hope that with greater understanding of that rich history and the contributions of Sikh Americans, there will be greater respect for our common humanity.”

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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