Kiran Kaur Gill & Chandra Acharya appointed to Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Security Advisory Council



Kiran Kaur Gill, a Sikh woman, and Chandru Acharya, an Indian-American from Michigan, have been appointed to Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Security Advisory Council along with 23 other faith leaders from the United States.

Acharya is a member of the Plymouth Canton Interfaith Community Outreach, and Gill is the executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund. Prior to that, she was the president and CEO of PARS Environmental Inc, an environmental consulting firm in New Jersey.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in September announced the appointment of 25 members to the reinvigorated Faith-Based Security Advisory Council ahead of its first meeting held on October 6, 2022. Council members advised the Secretary on the needs of the faith community relating to security and preparedness matters across all aspects of the DHS mission.

“These prominent faith and law enforcement leaders will help us build and strengthen the community partnerships that are so vital to our mission success,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We will work together to increase access to our services, ensure equity, maintain openness and transparency, and fully restore the trust of the communities we serve.”

Gill has been the executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund since 2019. She was previously the president and CEO of PARS Environmental Inc, an environmental consulting firm in New Jersey.

The US Small Business Administration selected Gill as the “Small Businessperson of the Year” in 2014 and her name was also among the top 50 most influential people of color in New Jersey by ROI-NJ. Apart from being involved in a number of community and civic organizations Gill is also the president and a founding member of the Inspiring South Asian American Women. She is a board member of the ONE Project and has volunteered for the Habitat for Humanity International, Global Village Programme in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Acharya is well known in the Hindu American community and interfaith forums for building bridges with various faith communities through dialogue and peace initiatives in the Hindu American community and interfaith forums. He has been working with several community-based organizations that work on social equity and pluralism. Acharya is also on the Planning Commission of Canton Township of Michigan and had earlier served as a commissioner on the Michigan Asian Pacific Affairs Commission.

He was also a board member of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Detroit. This president of South Asian American Voice of Impact, an advisory board member of the Detroit Indian Women’s Association, Acharya is also a board member of India League of America, a Plymouth Canton Interfaith member, an advisory board member of the Michigan Indian Community Service, and a national board member of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA.

The Faith-Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC) provides organizationally independent, strategic, timely, specific, and actionable advice to the Secretary through the Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement who also serves as the DHS Faith-Based Organization Security Coordinator. The FBSAC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary and other senior leadership on matters related to protecting houses of worship, preparedness, and enhanced coordination with the faith community.

The Council’s contributions will enhance the department’s work to protect houses of worship; improve coordination and information sharing of threat information with the faith community, and through the faith community, within the broader communities in which they serve; increase access to DHS resources by building trust and addressing potential barriers; and prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of targeted violence, terrorism, and other threats.

“This Council is an important way for the Department to engage formally with critical partners on issues impacting faith communities, said Brenda Abdelall, Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement. “Members of the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council will provide valuable insight that will benefit our stakeholders nationwide on important issues within the scope of the Department’s mission.”

The Council’s membership reflects President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’ priorities on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will ensure a wide range of diverse voices across various faith traditions. The members announced today represent various faith communities and a diversity of denominations, including from the Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities, as well as law enforcement.


Secretary Mayorkas has made these appointments to the Council:

Chandru Acharya, Member, Plymouth Canton Interfaith Community Outreach

Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, Executive Director, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center / Co-Founder, Multi-Faith Neighbors Network

Salam Al-Marayati, Co-Founder and President, Muslim Public Affairs Council

Deputy Chief Tracie Baker, Arlington Police Department, Texas

Kimberly Burgo, Vice President, Disaster Operations, Catholic Charities USA

Rev. Jeffery Cooper, General Secretary and Chief Information Officer, African Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Chief Operating Officer, National Council of Churches

Kiran Kaur Gill, Executive Director, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, National Commander, The Salvation Army

Hyepin Im, President and Founder, Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE)

Curtis Jones, National Deputy Sector Chief – Manager Religious Facilities Protection Program (RFPP), InfraGard National Members Alliance

Alberto Martinez, Director, Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Michael Masters, National Director & CEO, Secure Community Network

Sheriff Garry McFadden, 45th Sheriff of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism

Todd Richins, Church Security Department, Field Operations Division Director, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mayya Saab, Executive Director, Faith Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, CEO Emerita, Rabbinical Assembly

Chief Issa Shahin, Dearborn, Michigan Police Department

Imam Talib Shareef, Nation’s Mosque / Masjid Muhammed

Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder & President, National Action Network

Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement, City of Philadelphia

April Wood, President/CEO, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

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