Washington D.C. – August 2, 2007: Last week, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) participated in a roundtable discussion, Security and Liberty: Perspective of Young Leaders Post-9/11, hosted by the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute.
The roundtable presented an opportunity for thirty Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh American youth leaders to interface and engage with high level government officials, policy experts, and national community leaders including DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. They primarily discussed issues of civil rights and how they relate to homeland security.
“The roundtable presented us with an opportunity to explain the effects government security policies and initiatives have on our respective communities,” said SALDEF Legal Fellow Nitoj Singh.
SALDEF Associate Director Rajbir Singh Datta served on a series of panels, highlighting both the challenges the Sikh American community has faced since 9/11 and the increased opportunities for positive community-government relationships.
“The two-day roundtable was another step in creating a lasting dialogue between Arab, Muslim, and Sikh American youth and federal policymakers so that we may work together to jointly face the challenges of protecting the nation and its citizen’s civil rights,” said Mr. Datta. “The event highlighted the importance of engaging young leaders in the discussion and the contributions they can make.”
SALDEF thanks DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Daniel Sutherland, Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the DHS, and Frank J. Cilluffo, Associate Vice President for Homeland Security at The George Washington University, for organizing and hosting the July 24-25 roundtable at the George Washington University School of Law.