Sikh awareness training at New Jersey radio station by Sikh Coalition

Report and photos: Sikh Coalition

TRENTON, New Jersey: The Sikh Coalition led a Sikh awareness training on Tuesday with nearly 30 employees of NJ 101.5, a radio station owned by Townsquare Media Inc., after radio hosts made disrespectful comments about New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and his turban on July 25.

In addition to training the show hosts, Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco, the session educated employees on the Sikh faith and challenges faced by Sikhs in modern America.

“We welcome this important step as we work with NJ 101.5 on workshops, anti-racism trainings, and long-term strategies for growth and education,” said Sikh Coalition Executive Director Satjeet Kaur. “No person or community deserves ridicule because of how they look or what they believe, and we thank NJ 101.5 for taking these additional measures to reinforce values of inclusivity and diversity.”

In response to the Sikh community and the Sikh Coalition, the media company and show hosts took immediate actions, including issuing a public apology to Grewal and the Sikh community. Further, the Sikh Coalition worked with Townsquare Media to provide media resources on Sikhism to the station, and helped bring local and national attention to how the media-amplified derogatory language affects Sikhs in a climate in which they are regularly subject to discrimination, harassment and violence.

Gurbir Grewal
Official photo

Following this initial Sikh awareness training, the Sikh Coalition will facilitate additional training on understanding biases.

“Townsquare Media exists to entertain, engage and inform our communities. The more we are informed, the more effective in that mission we will be,” said Ron deCastro, Market President of Townsquare Media’s NJ 101.5. “As the voice of New Jersey, NJ 101.5 values this responsibility deeply and is grateful to the Sikh Coalition for working with us to reinforce our mission.”