WASHINGTON—Deputy Director-in-Charge Steven M. D’Antuono is pleased to announce that the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) is the recipient of the 2021 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for Washington Field Office (WFO).
On Monday, June 27, 2022, SALDEF Executive Director Kiran Kaur Gill and Program Manager Sharan Singh accepted this year’s award on behalf of SALDEF.
SALDEF is an American non-profit Sikh educational, media, and political organization. The organization supports American Sikhs by strengthening dialogue, deepening understanding, promoting civic and political participation, and advocating for social justice and religious freedom. Throughout 2021, FBI WFO personnel and SALDEF representatives worked together to cultivate relationships between federal agents and American Sikhs.
“The FBI and SALDEF have different functions, but we share a common goal: to protect the lives and freedoms of the American people,” ADIC 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.”
From December 2020 to December 2021, SALDEF representatives participated in several FBI WFO Cultural Engagement Boards, which led to valuable feedback regarding interactions between law enforcement and American Sikhs. 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,” said ADIC D’Antuono. “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 throughout the country and trained more than 100,000 federal and local officers in cultural awareness and community relations best practices.
SALDEF serves as a resource and voice for the Sikh American community on policy issues that affect not only Sikh Americans, but all Americans, including employment discrimination, racial profiling, school bullying, suffrage and women’s rights.
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.
More information about the FBI WFO Community Outreach Program is available at fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/washingtondc/community-outreach.