Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boston Police and Sikh American Community Achieve Landmark Partnership

Common Tables salutes the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Boston Police Department for their efforts to create cross-cultural awareness on Sikh religious practices . . . an outstanding example of the type of training that can prevent cultural misunderstandings.

This article is from:
Washington, D.C. - December 11, 2007: The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the nation’s oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights organization, concluded a highly successful year-long campaign to train the entire Boston Police Department (BPD) on Sikh religious practices. The over 3,000 BPD officers join the 95,000 trained by SALDEF across the nation.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis remarked: "This program has provided officers a tremendous opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the cultural and historical factors impacting the Sikh community. The city of Boston is a melting pot of diversity. Therefore, it is critical that our officers are exposed to a curriculum that includes cross-cultural awareness that strengthens community relations and prevents cultural misunderstandings."

Beginning in January 2007, SALDEF New England Director Navjeet Singh and a group of dedicated community activists and volunteers have been training law enforcement officers every week to increase cultural awareness of the Sikh American community and develop an ongoing partnership between law enforcement and the community.

"It’s important that police leaders in our community are aware of and have an understanding of the diversity in the City of Boston," said Mr. Singh. "The completion of this training is a first step in working more with our fellow Americans to ensure they understand who we are and what we believe."

The training is part of SALDEF’s Law Enforcement Partnership Program which has trained over 95,000 law enforcement officers over the past eight years. In 2007 alone, SALDEF training efforts have already reached over 14,000 law enforcement officers in cities across the nation including Washington, DC; Columbia, MO; Des Moines, IA; Greensboro, NC; Charlestown, WV; Portland, OR; and Pittsburgh, PA. Additionally, all 43,000 Transportation Security Officers in the United States will view On Common Ground by year's end as part of their mandated training.

SALDEF would like to thank the U.S. Department of Justice and acknowledge the Boston volunteers: Satnam Singh, Sarbjit Singh Thiara, Kanwaldeep Singh Arneja, Jaswant Singh Chani, KaviRaj Singh, and Achint Kaur, for their dedication to ensure this training endeavor was carried out to its successful conclusion.

If you would like to conduct a similar training in your area, please contact SALDEF at training@saldef.org or (202) 393-2700.

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