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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:44 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:20 pm
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Fathehbir Kaur, the California yoga teacher who started an online petition urging the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation to explain the relationship between Akal Security and human misery , confronted Khalsa Council at its September 2018 meeting in Espanola. She presented her case against Akal Security's collusion with the private deportation and detention industry. Not surprisingly she was given the run around. Here's her account:



‚ÄčOn Sept. 27, 2018, I was invited to give a presentation about the petition at the Khalsa Council conference in Espanola, NM. The Khalsa Council meets twice a year as an international body of ministers established to provide leadership and inspiration for Sikh Dharma and for the global communities.

The theme of this particular conference was Global Reach and Inclusion covering many topics. The segment pertaining to Akal and ICE was scheduled to last an hour but stretched to 2.5 hours. There were five executive officers of Akal Security in attendance who were given 10 minutes to describe the company's role. Then I was allotted 10 minutes to educate those in attendance about the petition and its purpose. Satwant Singh, the executive director of the SSSCorp board, then spoke for 5 minutes about how the board has been handling the issue thus far. After that, the floor was opened up for comments from the audience. If we wished, after a comment both Akal and I each had one minute to clarify.

There were many people attending who expressed support for the work of Akal Security and dismissed any need for change. Most of these speakers had been present when Yogi Bhajan founded Akal and/or had worked in the company.

There were many people who expressed a wish for more clarity, believed Akal's poor public relations had become a PR disaster, felt a change in business practices may be necessary, and hoped that the Council would be persuaded by the concern among community members outside the U.S. There were some representatives of communities in Central and South America, all of whom expressed confusion regarding how to reply to questions they have received from concerned students there. Prior to this meeting they had reached out for, but not received, guidance from the leadership on what to tell students.

There were a few people present who believed without reservation that Akal should end any and all work with ICE.

One of the Akal representatives made it clear that while he has every confidence in the upstanding nature of Akal's work thus far, the company exists only to serve; if the community decides that the company is no longer serving in the best capacity, then they are available to take guidance from the SSSCorp board regarding any desired changes.

The most commonly agreed upon point was the need for transparency regarding the businesses and the money. Time constraints prohibited discussion of what that would actually mean.

Based on the tone of the discussion, it appears the exponential growth of our international community has outpaced some of the traditions in Espanola. There is a clash between those who passionately insist that Yogi Bhajan would not want things done any differently than how he set them up 40 years ago and those who believe that the growth and shift in our community population warrants the adjustment of some of our attitudes and practices.

I presented four recommendations for how individuals and the community as a whole could proceed to address this issue: one, educate yourself on the changes in ICE and the questions people have about Akal; two, proactively open this discussion to the public, stop hiding; three, publicly engage with people of color in the sangat, listen to their various perspectives without defensiveness, and discourage attempts by others to silence their voices; four, create full transparency of the funding streams for the non-profit entities.

As of this update, I have no further information about action or intended action on the part of the Khalsa Council, Akal Security, or the SSSCorp board. When I have news I will share it here.

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