Simran Jeet Singh

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Dr. Simran Jeet Singh on Wall Street

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an educator, writer, and activist, who frequently offers comment and analysis on religion, racism, and justice. Singh is a columnist for Religion News Service, host of the "Spirited" podcast, and a visiting professor of religion at Union Theological Seminary. His children's book, Fauja Singh Keeps Going, tells "the true story of the oldest person ever to run a marathon," Fauja Singh, and will be available through Penguin Random House in August 2020.

Singh was a Luce/ACLS Fellow for Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs and a Visiting Scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media in 2017-2019.[1] The Harvard Divinity School Alumni/Alumnae Council selected Singh as a 2018 Peter J. Gomes STB ’68 Memorial honoree, an award which "recognizes distinguished HDS alumni whose excellence in life, work, and service pays homage to the mission and values of Peter J. Gomes STB ’68 and Harvard Divinity School."[2][3] He is also a columnist for Religion News Service[4] and NYU's Sikh chaplain.[5] He currently serves on Governor Cuomo's Interfaith Advisory Committee for the State of New York and was named as a faith leader to watch in 2018 by the Center for American Progress.[6]

Singh was the 2017–2018 Henry R. Luce Initiative in Religion in International Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Religion and Media at NYU[7] and an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas from 2016-2018.[8] In 2016, he received the Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award from Auburn Seminary, which "recognize[s] courageous individuals who dedicate their lives to advocating for justice and peace in our world."[9] He is a Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition[10] and a Truman National Security Fellow for the Truman National Security Project. He joined the Religion News Association Board of Directors in 2017,[11] and became a featured columnist for Religion News Service in 2018.[12]

Singh earned an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University, as well as an M.T.S. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Trinity University. He is the Dialogue Institute for the Southwest's 2017 Educator of the Year.[13] His research historicizing the formation of the Sikh tradition around the earliest memories of its founder, Guru Nanak, was funded by the Rachel F. and Scott McDermott Fellowship for the American Institute of Indian Studies.[14] In 2013, he received Columbia University's Presidential Award for Teaching by a Graduate Student.[15]

Sikh advocacy[edit]

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, delivering an address at The White House in 2014

Singh has addressed national audiences to promote awareness of Sikhism and its role in the contemporary United States. In 2014, he delivered a speech entitled "Guru Nanak at the White House" as part of President Barack Obama's celebration of Guru Nanak and Sikh Americans.[16] In 2015, he delivered an address, "Seva Is More Than Service," as part of the Pentagon's second commemoration of Sikhs' service to American national security.[17] In 2017, he spoke at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit as part of a discussion on "Reimagining Faith and Civic Life in the 21st Century."[18]

Singh is the author of Sikhism: A Reporter's Guide, a resource intended to help religion journalists report on the Sikh tradition.[19] He appeared on NBC News' ''Life Stories'', discussing his multiple identities as an American, a Sikh, a Texan, a South Asian, and a Spurs fan.[20] (He has also faced racially and religiously-motivated hate speech as a Spurs fan.[21]) He also contributed articles on Sikh life to the Daily Beast.[22] Singh talked to ABC News about Sikhs' struggle for acceptance and recognition on the fifth anniversary of the Oak Creek Temple mass shooting. He appeared as part of comedian Hasan Minaj's Daily Show sketch on distinguishing between Sikhs and Muslims.[23][24]

In July 2017, Singh was targeted by the online platform Campus Reform, which mistakenly reported that Singh had posed for a photo in which he gave double middle fingers to Trump Tower in New York City.[25] (The photo in question was of another Sikh man wearing a turban.) Singh received threatening and hateful messages via social media in response to Campus Reform's article.[26]

Work for equity and justice[edit]

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh

Dr. Singh writes and speaks frequently on equity and justice at the intersections of religion, race, discrimination, and civil rights. He has written pieces on ending religious and racial intolerance in schools for Time Magazine,[27] hate crime reporting for the New York Times,[28] Muslim labor justice for the Washington Post,[29] and media profiling of Muslims and Sikhs for the Huffington Post.[30] His recent scholarship and public engagement examines xenophobia, racial profiling, and hate violence in post-9/11 America.

Singh drafted a boilerplate letter of support for Muslim Americans in response to the 45th president's executive orders limiting travel from Muslim-majority countries.[31] Singh later spoke out against Islamphobic remarks made against him while he ran the 2016 New York City Marathon.[32]

With Jasdeep Singh, a physician from New York City, Singh dedicated his participation in the 2017 New York City Marathon to Colin Kaepernick's efforts to oppose police violence and promote racial equality.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ACLS American Council of Learned Societies". American Council of Learned Societies. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  2. ^ "Peter J. Gomes STB '68 Memorial Honors". Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  3. ^ "2018 Gomes Honorees Showcase HDS's Public Voice". Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  4. ^ "Religion News Service welcomes new board members, columnist - Religion News Service". Religion News Service. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  5. ^ "NYU Religious Centers and Chaplains".
  6. ^ "10 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2018 - Center for American Progress". Center for American Progress. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  7. ^ "Simran Jeet Singh, Ph.D. |". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  8. ^ "fellows and visiting scholars – NYU The Center for Religion and Media". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  9. ^ "Scholar Activism | Walter Wink & CrossCurrents". Auburn Seminary. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  10. ^ "Simran Jeet Singh - Sikh Coalition". Sikh Coalition. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  11. ^ "Kineke, Singh appointed to RNA Board - Religion News Association & Foundation". Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  12. ^ "Religion News Service welcomes new board members, columnist - Religion News Service". Religion News Service. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  13. ^ "Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner". Dialogue Institute of the Southwest. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  14. ^ "AIIS ANNOUNCES ITS 2013-2014 FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS - American Institute of Indian Studies". American Institute of Indian Studies. 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  15. ^ "Prior Graduate Student Instructor (Teaching Assistant) Winners". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  16. ^ Singh, Simran Jeet (2014-11-13). "Guru Nanak at the White House". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  17. ^ Singh, Simran Jeet (2015-05-05). "Pentagon Vaisakhi Address: Seva Is More Than Service". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  18. ^ "Breakout Sessions - Obama Foundation". Obama Foundation. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  19. ^ "First-Ever Guide To Improve Media Coverage on Sikhism - Sikh Coalition". Sikh Coalition. 2017-09-08. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  20. ^ "Life Stories: Simran Jeet Singh". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  21. ^ "Racist insult after Spurs game a sad example of hate in America". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  22. ^ "The Daily Beast - Author: Simran Jeet Singh". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  23. ^ The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (2016-04-26), Confused Islamophobes Target American Sikhs: The Daily Show, retrieved 2017-11-30
  24. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (2016-04-26). "Sikhs On 'The Daily Show' Have Perfect Response For People Who Assume They're Muslim". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  25. ^ "A Case of Mistaken Identity Spurs Hateful Messages for a Sikh Professor". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2017-07-20. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  26. ^ "Sikh scholar harassed over photo of another man in front of Trump Tower". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  27. ^ "We're Not Doing Enough to End Hate Among Our Children". Time. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  28. ^ Singh, Simran Jeet; Singh, Prabhjot (2012-08-24). "Opinion | Hate Crime Reporting Shouldn't Ignore American Sikhs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  29. ^ Singh, Simran Jeet (2015-06-01). "A Muslim woman beat Abercrombie & Fitch. Why her Supreme Court victory is a win for all Americans". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  30. ^ Singh, Simran Jeet (2012-07-11). "Islamophobia, Sikhophobia and Media Profiling". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  31. ^ "Letter of Support for Muslim Communities – The Revealer". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  32. ^ "Sikh scholar Simran Jeet Singh speaks out against Islamophobic remarks he heard at NYC marathon". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  33. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (2017-11-07). "Sikh Marathon Runners Honor Colin Kaepernick During Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-30.