Yesterday, I attended the Labor and Employment Committee Hearing in California’s State Capitol in Sacramento, California, in which the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012” (also known as AB1964 and mentioned on this blog recently) was to be considered by that Committee. Members of the California Sikh community and those of other faiths and organizations joined to testify about their support of this legislation that would clarify existing law around accommodation of religious practices in the workplace – and specifically, accommodation of religious articles of faith such as the Sikh turban.
It was a great show of support by the community who packed the meeting room, so much so that many of us had to wait outside until we were allowed to make a statement in support of the bill (see the video above).
It was a fruitful effort as the Committee passed the bill in an almost unanimous decision. Outside of the room, a small jakara was proclaimed in celebration by the Sikhs on hearing the outcome.
This was a great testament to what the Sikh community can achieve, but as the Sikh Coalition reminds us, there are several significant hurdles ahead on the road to getting this legislation passed:
On Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 8AM, AB1964 will be considered by the Judiciary Committee in the California Assembly. In order to move forward, the bill must receive a majority vote in the committee. There are several ways for you to support this effort at this crucial stage.
If you live in California
Call Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Feuer at (916) 319-2042, and respectfully request that the Assembly Member co-author AB1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. In addition to calling, please sign our automatic petition to California legislators in support of AB1964.
If you live outside California
Please share this advisory and our petition with your friends and family in California through Facebook and email.
This legislation has a direct bearing on our freedom to practice our faith without discrimination in California and would set a precedent for the entire country. We should all make every effort to give this legislation the best chance to become law.
The Sikh Coalition, who is sponsoring AB1964, provides additional photos of the hearing on their Facebook page.
(Video provided by the Sikh Coalition)