Yesterday, white supremacy was on full display at the US Capitol and at government buildings across the nation. These attacks represent a blatant and illegal attempt to deter democracy and promote white supremacist beliefs — which harm everyone. All of us have a duty to respond, not only with condemnation, but with sustained action against the instigators and their supporters.
Though Congress has certified the results of the presidential election, they must do more. They must call for the removal of President Trump and begin impeachment proceedings immediately. Republican leadership must ensure there is a peaceful transition of power on and past Inauguration Day, and all members of Congress who incited, encouraged, or participated in this attack must be expelled for breaking their Oaths of Office. Those responsible for yesterday’s attacks must be held equally accountable under the law.
We must also be careful about how to characterize yesterday’s events. SAALT’s work on national security and immigration issues since 9/11 has made it clear that labeling acts of extremist violence as terrorism is dangerous and paves the way for the targeting of Black and Brown communities, as seen through the War on Terror framework. We can and must stand vigilant against yesterday’s attacks without resorting to such characterizations by demanding that what happened yesterday is characterized as white supremacist violence. SAALT stands with our Black allies, who are rightfully pointing out the double standards in how the white supremacists behind yesterday’s events are being treated, as compared to the peaceful protesters during last summer’s uprisings.
“For our own communities, who were retraumatized by yesterday’s events, we are with you. The past four years have been a relentless surge of policies and attacks against the bodies and rights of so many communities, ours included. SAALT will continue to press for the reversal of these xenophobic and racist policies from the Trump era and push for bold solutions that will improve the lives of everyone.”Simran Noor, SAALT Board Chair
As South Asians, we also have work to do within our communities. There are reports of Indian Americans being present at and encouraging yesterday’s attempted coup. Given what we witnessed from the 2020 Howdy Modi event in Texas featuring Trump and Modi, this is no surprise. We have work to do within our own communities to raise awareness about the links between Hindu nationalism and white supremacy, and the dangers of allying with the elements who orchestrated yesterday’s events. Simply put: We cannot condemn one fascist and excuse another. SAALT calls on its entire community to hold these truths and stand united against nationalism, fascism, and imperialism on all its fronts.
SAALT will continue to share news and coverage of the violence, as well as help connect those affected by the chaos with local resources. Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions or requests.
November 17, 2020: Yesterday, the FBI released its 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, showing the deadliest year on record and the highest number of hate crime murders since 1991. A total of 7,314 hate crime incidents were reported by law enforcement agencies. The FBI data illustrates a slight decrease from last year’s report, and yet we know that communities of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities continue to be targets of hate violence by white supremacist individuals and institutions.
Major findings of the report:
- The FBI report cites the Sikh community saw a slight decrease in the number of reported anti-Sikh incidents in 2019, after a record 200 percent increase in 2018. And while crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment decreased, with 176 reported, overall hate crime incidents targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims has been up since 2015. As of November 1, 2020, SAALT and our partners have tracked 348 incidents of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric, and 733 incidents of hate violence targeting Muslims and Asian Americans, and those perceived as Muslim or Asian American, since November 2015.
- Racially motivated hate crime incidents made up the majority of hate crimes reported in 2019, with nearly half of the incidents motivated by anti-Black racism. The number of anti-Black hate crimes was the highest it’s been since 2011.
- There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019. 22 of those were the racially motivated murders in the single El Paso shooting last August. There was a nine percent increase in reported hate crime incidents against Latinos, and yet the deadly El Paso shooting was categorized under “anti-other race/ethnicity/ancestry” despite well documented anti-Mexican sentiment. As reported in SAALT’s COVID report, the “other” categorization often obscures the true impact on communities.
- Of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white.
The numbers depict a far from accurate picture of the real prevalence of hate violence incidents in the U.S. The federal government has yet to mandate hate crime reporting at the state and local levels. During an extraordinary year of uprisings and state violence against Black and brown communities, it is imperative for Congress to pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, (H.R. 3545; S. 2043), which helps close vast gaps in hate crime statistics and improve data collection on hate crimes by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The bill also includes a restorative justice component which provides an “alternative sentencing” provision that would allow specific defendants supervised release to undertake educational classes or community service directly related to the harmed community.
Hate violence targeting South Asian, Arabs, and Muslims is fueled by state sanctioned white supremacy. Policies and practices like the Muslim Ban, family separation, and ongoing police violence endanger our communities because they embolden white supremacists. From the constant vandalizing of mosques, harrassment of Muslim women, to the targeting of South Asians in their own neighborhoods, we have seen the very real and constant impact of this violence. SAAT is committed to advocating for policy and community based solutions that address hate violence from its root cause — by fighting all the manifestations of state sanctioned hate.
Yesterday, in response to the Supreme Court upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last month, the Trump Administration took expected steps to dismantle the program, releasing a memo that said it would not be accepting new DACA applications, rejecting most advance parole requests, and limiting those with pending renewals to only one year instead of two years.
For the over 5,000 South Asian DACA recipients, and the over 20,000 Indians alone who remain eligible for DACA, this will have a direct impact on any existing renewal applications and for any undocumented South Asian youth who were hoping to apply for DACA.
We knew the Supreme Court victory was temporary, allowing the Administration to retaliate. We must continue pushing back, forging ahead, and ensuring that we fight for policies that support all immigrant communities without harming others.
Here are things you can do right now:
- Join a community call today at 8pmET to discuss what this means
- Contribute to the DACA Renewal fund and to movement organizations who are fighting this every step of the way.
- Email your Senator by clicking this link here and demanding they support the Dream and Promise Act which would ensure permanent protections for undocumented people and commit to STOP funding this Administration’s Deportation Force
- Post on your socials using the TRUMP ENDS DACA TOOLKIT | #HomeIsHere
- Change your Facebook and Twitter profile pics to add the #HomeIsHere filter
|Election win opens up greater potential for pushing policies that matter to South Asian communities|
|November 9, 2020: SAALT congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic win and we look forward to the opportunity to push for progressive and inclusive policies for South Asian Americans across the U.S with the new Administration. Despite attempts by the Trump Administration to thwart the democratic process, the hard work of organizers, poll workers, and volunteers ensured greater accountability around voter suppression than ever before. Ultimately, this led to a clear and decisive victory for the Biden campaign. |
Lakshmi Sridaran, Executive Director of SAALT, said: “This election opens up greater potential for pushing the policies that matter to our communities. We will rely on the same vigilance that propelled historic voter turnout and accurate vote counts to hold this Administration accountable to our communities. This means a complete overhaul of our immigration system that ensures a pathway to citizenship for all, COVID-19 relief packages that include immigrants of all status, increased language access resources, an end to detention and the militarization of U.S. borders, and the transformation of policing as we know it. We will celebrate and heal, but we also know the work of undoing the immense harm of the last four years and affirmatively laying the groundwork for meaningful systems change requires intention and political will. In order for this Administration to truly acknowledge the Black and brown communities whose years of organizing delivered this weekend’s victory, beyond representation, we expect them to exercise that political will to the full extent on behalf of our communities.“
The historic voter turnout and inspring shifts of traditionally conservative states were a direct result of years of organizing by Black and brown communities who felt the brunt of the Trump Administration’s xenophobic and racist polices and dangerous rhetoric. In particular, a growing and increasingly engaged South Asian population played a critical role in Georgia. The South Asian population in the South tripled from 2000 to 2014, and of the top ten metropolitan areas in the U.S. that experienced the largest South Asian population growth, five were in the South. Groups like Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, and Project South, working to implement Stacey Abrams’ strategy of appealing to disenfranchised voters of color instead of relying on the Democratic Party’s usual outsized focus on moderate white voters, harnessed the political organizing power of communities of color across the state. This critical shift in priorities should inform the Biden-Harris Administration.
However, given the narrow margin of victory in this election that took days to determine, it is clear that there remains definitive support for racist and xenophobic policies and that white supremacy is a dangerous force that will remain a threat to our communities. This is paired with the violent Islamophobia and Hindu nationalism aimed at many South Asian populations. Dismantling these interlinked systems of institutionalized violence is an important part of the work we now have an opportunity to directly address with the new administration, especially given Vice President Harris’ identity. At SAALT, we look forward to continuing to build community power, strengthening coalitions across communities of color, and advocating for just and equitable federal policies alongside the new Administration.
Washington, D.C.: As the Trump Administration intentionally fails to address a national health crisis that has already claimed the lives of over 120,000 people in the U.S., they continue to double down on criminalizing immigrant communities while still exploiting their labor to carry us through the pandemic. This week’s executive order extended the 60 day ban on the issuance of green cards announced in April and further expands the ban to H‑1B, H‑2B, L, and certain J non-immigrant visas through the end of the year. This primarily targets high-skilled and guest workers, undermining family reunification and diversity visa programs.
SAALT’s Executive Director Lakshmi Sridaran said,“Over 70 percent of H1B visa holders in the U.S. are from South Asian countries. Our community members and their families continue to be jeopardized because of these restrictions. If the goal was to protect U.S. workers, they would be given PPE, sick days, and healthcare in the midst of this deadly pandemic. From the Muslim Ban to targeting a range of immigrant populations from H‑1B visaholders to DACA recipients, this administration’s racist and anti-immigrant agenda underscores their abysmal failure in leadership.”
For more information on who will be impacted by this latest executive order, check out this fact sheet from the Center for Immigrant Rights Clinic at Penn State Law.
UPDATE, July 10th
Earlier this week, we put out a call for volunteers to assist with an outreach effort to provide food and restaurant workers from the South Asian community with “know your rights” resources. The alert was prompted by community reports about an immigration enforcement action targeting workers in the restaurant industry over the past week in DC. Out of respect for those directly affected, we are not providing any additional information at this time. We will continue our work to protect and defend our communities, especially at a time when immigrants are being targeted, whether at workplaces and homes or at the border.
July 8, 2019
An Indian restaurant in DC was raided by ICE last week. Several Hindi speaking employees were taken to the Montgomery County jail in Maryland.
Given the prospect of immigration raids in the DC area, we are calling for volunteers to join us for an outreach effort on July 13th and 14th.
SAALT is seeking volunteers to help with outreach, translation, and legal counsel. Click here for immediate steps you can take.
Yesterday, white supremacy was on full display at the US Capitol and at government buildings across the nation. These attacks represent a ...
November 17, 2020: Yesterday, the FBI released its 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, showing the deadliest year on record ...
Yesterday, white supremacy was on full display at the US Capitol and at government buildings across the nation. These attacks represent a ...
Washington, DC., September 29, 2020: South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) released the report Unequal Consequences: The Disparate Impact ...