SAALT Hosts Know Your Rights Town Hall in D.C.

Wash­ing­ton D.C.:  On Thurs­day, March 23rd, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er held the first in our series of nation­al com­mu­ni­ty town halls to dis­cuss press­ing issues for our com­mu­ni­ties includ­ing hate vio­lence, immi­gra­tion, and poli­cies such as the “Mus­lim Ban”.
The recent spike in hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, and Hin­du com­mu­ni­ties is part of a dan­ger­ous trend elec­tri­fied by the 2016 elec­tion cycle and the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion. Speak­ers and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers includ­ed Arjun Sethi of the George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Law Cen­ter, Dr. Revathi Vikram from ASHA for Women, Shabab Ahmed Mirza of KhushDC, Darak­shan Raja from Wash­ing­ton Peace Cen­ter, and Saba Ahmed from Cap­i­tal Area Immi­grants’ Rights Coali­tion.
Pan­elists dis­cussed the lat­est exec­u­tive orders on immi­gra­tion, the ris­ing tide of hate vio­lence nation­wide, the his­to­ry of vio­lence impact­ing South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, and LGBTQ com­mu­ni­ties, and local orga­niz­ing efforts to defend rights and demand jus­tice. Atten­dees also par­tic­i­pat­ed in a know your rights train­ing on immi­gra­tion and depor­ta­tion defense as well as a ques­tion and answer ses­sion.
Below are some resources from the town hall that we hope you find use­ful:
  1. A Know Your Rights Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion against depor­ta­tion pre­pared by the Cap­i­tal Area Immi­grants’ Rights Coali­tion
  2. A pock­et guide from the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions: “Know­ing Your Rights and Respon­si­bil­i­ties as an Amer­i­can Mus­lim”
  3. SAALT’s Com­mu­ni­ty Guide on Hate Crimes
  4. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) Know Your Rights pock­et cards (pre­pared by Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice-Atlanta, Sikh Fam­i­ly Cen­ter, and Maitri) in Ben­gali, Burmese, Gujarati, Hin­di, Nepali, Pun­jabi, and Urdu lan­guages.

For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on the town hall and how to host one in your com­mu­ni­ty, email us at info@saalt.org.

SAALT Organizes Congressional Briefing on Hate Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

On March 23, 2017, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, held a Con­gres­sion­al brief­ing to address the uptick in hate vio­lence nation­wide and high­light rec­om­men­da­tions for change, as out­lined in our recent report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial.”  SAALT was joined by eight mem­bers of Con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ty part­ners in an urgent dis­cus­sion on com­bat­ting the surge in hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans across the coun­try.

“As Pres­i­dent Trump con­tin­ues to test fire Mus­lim bans, this admin­is­tra­tion appears intent on inten­si­fy­ing efforts to ignore and pro­voke hate vio­lence,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT.  “The Pres­i­dent has a sworn duty to pro­tect the rights and safe­ty of all Amer­i­cans.  Today’s brief­ing with Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers is an impor­tant step in mak­ing sure Pres­i­dent Trump doesn’t escape his respon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Our com­mu­ni­ties have expe­ri­enced dev­as­tat­ing vio­lence in recent months, includ­ing dead­ly shoot­ings in Kansas and Wash­ing­ton State, numer­ous arson attacks and van­dal­ism of mosques, busi­ness­es, and homes nation­wide, and mount­ing fear by our com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.

These tragedies are build­ing upon the his­tor­i­cal­ly divi­sive Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, which, as doc­u­ment­ed in “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” saw over 200 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric against our com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide. Notably, 95% of inci­dents were ani­mat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment and 1 out of 5 xeno­pho­bic com­ments emanat­ed from then-can­di­date Trump.  This is a 34% increase in these inci­dents in less than a third of the time cov­ered in our 2014 report, “Under Sus­pi­cion, Under Attack.”

“SAALT stands ready to work with Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers to fight hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric impact­ing our com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try,” stat­ed Ms. Raghu­nathan.  “South Asian Amer­i­cans are the most rapid­ly grow­ing demo­graph­ic group, and we are com­mit­ted to poli­cies at all lev­els that rein­force the place our com­mu­ni­ties have in our nation now and as we con­tin­ue to grow.”

——

Honorary Co-Chairs of the briefing include: Sen­a­tor Mazie Hirono (HI); Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal (CT); Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin (MD)

Member Co-Sponsors of the briefing include:  Con­gress­man Kei­th Elli­son (MN‑5); Con­gress­man Andre Car­son (IN‑7); Con­gress­man Raul Gri­jal­va (AZ‑3); Con­gress­man Ami Bera (CA‑7);  Con­gress­woman Grace Meng (NY‑6); Con­gress­man Mark Takano (CA-41);  Con­gress­woman Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA‑7); Con­gress­man Raja Krish­namoor­thi (IL‑8); Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na (CA-17)

Members of Congress who joined the briefing include: Con­gress­woman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Con­gres­sion­al Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Cau­cus; Con­gress­man Raul Gri­jal­va (AZ‑3), Co-Chair, Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus; Con­gress­man Ami Bera (CA‑7); Con­gress­man Mark Takano (CA-41); Con­gress­woman Grace Meng (NY‑6); Con­gress­woman Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA‑7); Con­gress­man Raja Krish­namoor­thi (IL‑8); Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na (CA-17)

Partner organizations include: Sikh Coali­tion, Wash­ing­ton Peace Center/D.C. Jus­tice for Mus­lims Coali­tion, Amer­i­can-Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee, Arab Amer­i­can Insti­tute

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “I have been deeply dis­turbed by the grow­ing num­ber of reli­gious-based hate inci­dents across the Unit­ed States, includ­ing the ris­ing tide of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asian, Mus­lim, Hin­du, and Sikh Amer­i­cans nation­wide. It is a trou­bling trend that we must bring to an end. Lead­ers from the nation­al lev­el to the neigh­bor­hood lev­el must make oppor­tu­ni­ties to speak out force­ful­ly against this kind of intol­er­ance. Reli­gious-based threats, van­dal­ism and poten­tial vio­lence are not only crim­i­nal but fan the flames of extrem­ism that tears apart soci­eties. Each threat needs to be treat­ed with the utmost seri­ous­ness as we band togeth­er to dis­cour­age such vicious lan­guage and activ­i­ty.”

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “The increase in hate crimes and attacks on minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties since the elec­tion is no coin­ci­dence- they are the unfor­tu­nate result of indi­vid­u­als who feel new­ly empow­ered by an Admin­is­tra­tion whose top advi­sors include a not­ed white suprema­cist. If we do not stand up against these hor­rif­ic actions now, we will be com­plic­it in what fol­lows.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus: “The dis­turb­ing uptick in hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties is appalling and must end. Recent attacks, includ­ing the shoot­ings of Srini­vas Kuchi­bot­la, Alok Madasani, and Deep Rai, are exam­ples of the very real con­se­quences that anti-Mus­lim and xeno­pho­bic rhetoric have on com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. Today’s brief­ing, which expos­es this ris­ing tide of hate, is crit­i­cal to bring more atten­tion to this urgent cri­sis. I would like to thank SAALT for bring­ing us togeth­er for this impor­tant dis­cus­sion. We must take proac­tive steps to ensure that all com­mu­ni­ties – regard­less of faith, race, or nation­al ori­gin – feel safe and wel­come in their own coun­try.”

Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-3): “Don­ald Trump cam­paigned for pres­i­dent on themes of big­otry and intol­er­ance, and sad­ly, his suc­cess has embold­ened some of the dark­est and most rep­re­hen­si­ble pock­ets of our soci­ety. Against this back­drop, I could not be more proud to join CAPAC and SAALT for this brief­ing on hate vio­lence. In my home state of Ari­zona, the wounds from SB 1070 – a law entire­ly pred­i­cat­ed on ille­gal racial pro­fil­ing – still run deep. We know first­hand what Repub­li­cans across the coun­try urgent­ly need to learn: politi­cians who embrace hate don’t just betray their oath of office – they endan­ger inno­cent lives.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-7): “As a nation, we must come togeth­er to stand up to these dis­turb­ing acts of hate vio­lence — start­ing with the Pres­i­dent. I am sad­dened and out­raged when I hear about any Amer­i­can being warned not to speak their lan­guage or wear tra­di­tion­al cloth­ing in pub­lic out of safe­ty con­cerns. These hate­ful attacks do not reflect who we are as a nation of immi­grants, but such vio­lence could do irrepara­ble dam­age to our rep­u­ta­tion around the world.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-6): “Immi­grant, Mus­lim, Arab, Sikh, Hin­du, and South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to be tar­gets of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric. It remains crit­i­cal for elect­ed offi­cials to speak out ear­ly, loud­ly, and often against hate vio­lence and the poli­cies that fan the flames of vio­lence. I’d like to thank SAALT for its tire­less efforts in sup­port­ing the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty, and I hope that togeth­er, we can reverse the hor­ri­ble trend of height­ened intol­er­ance and vio­lence.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41): “This nation is built on that most pow­er­ful and Amer­i­can idea that every per­son is deserv­ing of dig­ni­ty and respect. The dis­turb­ing rise of hate­ful rhetor­i­cal and vio­lence direct­ed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Hin­du, and Sikh Amer­i­cans nation­wide threat­ens the basic premise of our coun­try. Amer­i­cans of all faiths, eth­nic­i­ties, and nation­al­i­ties must come togeth­er to ensure we pro­tect the diver­si­ty and tol­er­ance that makes us a bea­con of hope around the world.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-7): “We will con­tin­ue to be resilient to counter the fear­ful, hate­ful peo­ple who think they can con­trol us—they can­not. The res­o­lu­tion that Con­gress­man Crow­ley and I intro­duced, along with the work of SAALT are steps in the direc­tion of end­ing this vit­ri­ol, but every sin­gle per­son in this coun­try has a stake in end­ing hate. This falls on all of us, I would encour­age the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion to remem­ber that.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8): “The hate-moti­vat­ed crimes we have wit­nessed these past months have been an attack on the very spir­it of Amer­i­ca. As we con­front this wave of hate, it is heart­en­ing to see so many Amer­i­cans — from the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty and oth­ers — com­ing togeth­er for essen­tial meet­ings, like this brief­ing, to speak out and stand up for the val­ues of our coun­try.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17): “I have full con­fi­dence that our coun­try will stand togeth­er, on a bipar­ti­san basis, against hate­ful words and actions, and we must pros­e­cute any hate crimes to the full extent of the law.”

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Joins Senator Cardin (D‑MD), Leaders For Roundtable To Address “Muslim Bans”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On March 20, 2017, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, joined Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin (D‑MD) and orga­ni­za­tion­al lead­ers for a round­table dis­cus­sion on the dev­as­tat­ing impacts of Pres­i­dent Trump’s “Mus­lim Bans” and the impor­tant judi­cial rul­ings that have sti­fled their enact­ment.

The nation con­tin­ues to expe­ri­ence a blind­ing uptick in anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant hate vio­lence, embold­ened by the Pres­i­den­t’s vir­tu­al­ly iden­ti­cal “Mus­lim Bans.” In two months our com­mu­ni­ties have expe­ri­enced dead­ly shoot­ings in Kansas and Wash­ing­ton State, arson and van­dal­ism of mosques, busi­ness­es, and homes nation­wide, and the heavy weight of fear and uncer­tain­ty expe­ri­enced by our com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try.

Rep­re­sent­ing SAALT at the round­table, Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy, not­ed, “There is an acute rela­tion­ship between poli­cies and rhetoric that crim­i­nal­ize Mus­lim, Arab, and South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and the hate vio­lence tar­get­ing these com­mu­ni­ties. While the judi­cia­ry dogged­ly blocks the Pres­i­den­t’s “Mus­lim Bans,” the dam­age con­tin­ues to be done as each week uncov­ers a new inven­to­ry of vic­tims of racial­ly moti­vat­ed attacks.”

The vio­lence cur­rent­ly fac­ing the nation is build­ing on the tox­ic momen­tum of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. SAALT’s lat­est report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” doc­u­ments over 200 instances of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric dur­ing this his­tor­i­cal­ly divi­sive elec­tion cycle, with 95% of inci­dents ani­mat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment and 1 out of 5 xeno­pho­bic com­ments ema­nat­ing from then-can­di­date Trump.

At the round­table, Sen­a­tor Cardin respond­ed to SAALT’s find­ings and the uptick in hate vio­lence nation­wide, stat­ing, “It starts with lead­er­ship. Pres­i­dent Trump’s com­ments as a can­di­date and a Pres­i­dent is just the oppo­site of what you need.”

The Pres­i­dent has tried to strate­gi­cal­ly dis­tance him­self from his own cam­paign rhetoric over recent weeks in hopes of push­ing through his “Mus­lim Ban 2.0,” but last week the Mary­land Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court was­n’t con­vinced. In its rul­ing U.S. Dis­trict Judge Theodore Chuang not­ed, “Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the record also includes spe­cif­ic state­ments direct­ly estab­lish­ing that Trump intend­ed to effec­tu­ate a par­tial Mus­lim ban by ban­ning entry by cit­i­zens of spe­cif­ic pre­dom­i­nant­ly Mus­lim coun­tries deemed to be dan­ger­ous, as a means to avoid, for polit­i­cal rea­sons, an action explic­it­ly direct­ed at Mus­lims.”

2017 has been a ban­ner year for hate. What we’ve learned in these short months is that words mat­ter, words can be dead­ly, and words prop­er­ly mea­sured can be the key to jus­tice. SAALT is lis­ten­ing.

CONTACT:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Applauds Blocking of Muslim Ban 2.0, a Stimulus Package for Hate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, applauds today’s rul­ing by a fed­er­al judge in Hawaii that blocked nation­wide imple­men­ta­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump’s revised exec­u­tive order set for tomor­row.

“Today’s rul­ing under­scores that no one, not even a Pres­i­dent, can green light dis­crim­i­na­tion and racism,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “Despite the admin­is­tra­tion’s legal gym­nas­tics, the Mus­lim Ban 2.0 remains a stim­u­lus pack­age for hate that has already fanned the flames of fear, vio­lence, and tragedy in our com­mu­ni­ties. We call upon the Pres­i­dent to rescind this exec­u­tive order in full and begin the work of heal­ing our divid­ed and wound­ed coun­try.”

Vio­lence against South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, and Hin­du com­mu­ni­ties has sky­rock­et­ed across the coun­try in recent weeks, with numer­ous acts of hate occur­ring in the wake of the Pres­i­den­t’s announced Mus­lim Bans.

This Feb­ru­ary saw the dead­ly shoot­ing of two Indi­an men in Kansas by a gun­man scream­ing “get out of my coun­try,” leav­ing one of the men dead and two nations in hys­te­ria. Days lat­er in Wash­ing­ton State, a Sikh man was shot in his dri­ve­way by a gun­man report­ed­ly yelling “go back to your coun­try” before open­ing fire. Last week a Flori­da man tried to set fire to a con­ve­nience store owned by Indi­ans in order to “run the Arabs out of our coun­try.” In Ore­gon a man assault­ed employ­ees at a Mid­dle East­ern restau­rant with a pipe, call­ing them “ter­ror­ists” and scream­ing “get out of Amer­i­ca” dur­ing the attack. Mean­while, white suprema­cist groups con­tin­ue to mul­ti­ply nation­wide.

In Jan­u­ary SAALT released “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” a report doc­u­ment­ing over 200 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric against South Asian, Mus­lim, Hin­du, Sikh, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans dur­ing the 2016 elec­tions. 95% of the inci­dents doc­u­ment­ed were moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. Pres­i­dent Trump was respon­si­ble for 21% of the xeno­pho­bic rhetoric we tracked.

In response to the ongo­ing and esca­lat­ing threats to our com­mu­ni­ties, SAALT coor­di­nat­ed a vig­il on March 10 to hon­or the vic­tims of hate vio­lence on the steps of the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Speak­ing at the event were part­ner orga­ni­za­tions and Mem­bers of Con­gress includ­ing Con­gress­woman Prami­la Jaya­pal (D‑WA), Con­gress­man Ami Bera (D‑CA), Con­gress­man Joe Crow­ley (D‑NY), and Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na (D‑CA), who took this moment to mourn the vic­tims of hate vio­lence and demand more account­abil­i­ty from Pres­i­dent Trump. “One of the mes­sages I want to send to peo­ple who are out there lis­ten­ing,” not­ed Con­gress­woman Jaya­pal, “is that Amer­i­ca is your coun­try, you belong here, and we will stand up to pro­tect your rights.”

Today’s rul­ing declares that Amer­i­ca has a place for and indeed wel­comes us all, regard­less of state­ments by xeno­pho­bic gun­men and the Pres­i­dent. SAALT will con­tin­ue demand­ing jus­tice for our com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide until all of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and their rights are pro­tect­ed.

Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

SAALT, Partners, Members of Congress Hold Vigil on Hate Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Today in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, along with part­ner orga­ni­za­tions and Mem­bers of Con­gress, held a vig­il on the steps of the Capi­tol to hon­or the vic­tims of hate vio­lence in South Asian, Sikh, Mus­lim, Hin­du, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide. The vig­il was a col­lec­tive moment to mourn the injuries and loss of life our com­mu­ni­ties have suf­fered and to also demand just laws, poli­cies, and lead­er­ship in response to increas­ing vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties.

“At a time when South Asian, Sikh, Mus­lim, Hin­du, and Arab com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are fac­ing hate vio­lence and harass­ment on near­ly a dai­ly basis, we need real lead­er­ship from Wash­ing­ton to stem the tide of injus­tice,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “Wait­ing near­ly a week before com­ment­ing on a dead­ly shoot­ing in Kansas won’t do it. Issu­ing a sec­ond tox­ic Mus­lim Ban won’t do it. We need direct action from this admin­is­tra­tion to forge inclu­sion, jus­tice, and hope in this quin­tes­sen­tial nation of immi­grants. SAALT will con­tin­ue fight­ing for laws and poli­cies that light a path toward a just and inclu­sive future for us all.”

In recent weeks three Indi­an men and one Sikh man, either per­ceived as Mus­lim or as a result of anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment, were shot, with two of the vic­tims ulti­mate­ly dying of their injuries. In two of the cas­es the assailants screamed at their vic­tims to leave the U.S. and go back to their coun­tries before open­ing fire. The nation has also wit­nessed spikes in mosque burn­ings, van­dal­ism, and an increas­ing wave of intim­i­da­tion aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide.

This recent vio­lence is part of a ris­ing tide of hate tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. SAALT’s lat­est report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” doc­u­ments over 200 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans dur­ing the 2016 elec­tions, with an astound­ing 95% of inci­dents moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. Notably Pres­i­dent Trump was respon­si­ble for 21% of the xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric we tracked.

The Pres­i­den­t’s response to the attacks against our com­mu­ni­ties has been woe­ful­ly inad­e­quate. His dan­ger­ous rhetoric and destruc­tive poli­cies have fanned the flames of vio­lence that we’ve expe­ri­enced in recent weeks and months. SAALT calls upon the Pres­i­dent to reverse course and lead our nation down a path of jus­tice, inclu­sion and equal­i­ty for all Amer­i­cans. This is the moment for our nation to come togeth­er, and SAALT will con­tin­ue to fight until our coun­try has reached that impor­tant goal.

——

Mem­bers of Con­gress who joined the vig­il includ­ed Con­gress­woman Prami­la Jaya­pal (D‑WA), Con­gress­man Ami Bera (D‑CA), Con­gress­man Joe Crow­ley (D‑NY), and Con­gress­man Ro Khan­na (D‑CA).

Part­ner orga­ni­za­tions include: Amer­i­can-Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ADC), Arab Amer­i­can Insti­tute (AAI), Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), Desis Ris­ing Up & Mov­ing (DRUM), Indi­as­po­ra, MPow­er­Change, Nation­al Coun­cil of Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­cans (NCAPA), Nation­al Net­work For Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties (NNAAC), Sikh Amer­i­can Legal Defense & Edu­ca­tion Fund (SALDEF), and Sikh Coali­tion.

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY)
“I feel very strong­ly that there needs to be more love, more accep­tance, more tol­er­ance now in the Unit­ed States than ever before, and I believe also that the vio­lence we’ve seen tak­en against peo­ple who don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly look like me is some­thing we all need to be con­cerned about. Whether you’re a South Asian, whether you’re a Mus­lim, whether you’re Jew­ish, whether you’re Chris­t­ian, whether you’re Hin­du, whether you’re Sikh, whether you’re Bud­dhist, it mat­ters not. An attack against one is an attack against all of us. The attack in Kansas did send a shiv­er down my spine, because I know that this is some­thing that unfor­tu­nate­ly has devel­oped because of hate rhetoric and hate speech that devel­oped dur­ing the cam­paign and has con­tin­ued after­wards. Pres­i­dent Trump not only has to speak out against this, he has to take action against this as well and put resources out there to ensure the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States is pro­tect­ed.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
“This is a very impor­tant moment. I have tremen­dous sym­pa­thy and con­do­lences for the fam­i­lies across the coun­try who are deal­ing with hate crimes and who are lit­er­al­ly suf­fer­ing at home, some­times in silence, unsure of whether they can go out or not. When we’ve seen spikes in hate crimes, it is incred­i­bly impor­tant for Mem­bers of Con­gress, but most impor­tant­ly for the Pres­i­dent, to speak out against this kind of hate vio­lence. But it does­n’t actu­al­ly mean any­thing unless the poli­cies fol­low that rhetoric, and that has been one of things that has been very trou­bling. One of the mes­sages I want to send to peo­ple who are out there lis­ten­ing is that Amer­i­ca is your coun­try, you belong here, and we will stand up to pro­tect your rights.”

Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA)
“These dis­turb­ing acts of vio­lence not only attack our com­mu­ni­ties, they are an assault on all Amer­i­cans. Attack­ing some­one based on where they come from or what they look like insults the very core of every­thing that we stand for as a nation of immi­grants. As a nation, we must stand up to these hate­ful attacks, which means dou­bling down on our com­mit­ments to safe­ty, equal­i­ty, and the Amer­i­can val­ues of lib­er­ty and jus­tice for all.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA)
“I have a fun­da­men­tal belief in the good­ness and decen­cy of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. This is not a par­ti­san issue. I have had Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats approach me on the floor appalled by some of the recent acts of vio­lence. The coun­try must stand togeth­er against hate­ful words and actions, and we must pros­e­cute any hate crimes to the full extent of the law.”

Rajdeep Singh Jolly, Interim Managing Director of Programs, Sikh Coalition
“As we remem­ber Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la and all those who have lost their lives and loved ones to hate, we demand that the White House cre­ate a fed­er­al task force to pre­vent hate vio­lence. Words are not enough. We need account­abil­i­ty and action.”

Yolanda Rondon, Esq., Staff Attorney, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
“The courage of the Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty is unpar­al­leled. Hate attempt­ed to cre­ate fear but we dis­cov­ered our strength. We will not be divid­ed.”

Amrita Bamrah, SALDEF
“Today as we offer our thoughts and prayers to the vic­tims of hate vio­lence, SALDEF stands firm in its belief that the good­ness of our com­mu­ni­ties will pre­vail over hate, and we reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to stand­ing up for the rights of all com­mu­ni­ties in Char­di Kala (ever­last­ing opti­mism), with­out fear, and with­out hate.”

James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute
“Hate crimes are fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent than oth­er threats or acts of vio­lence because they tar­get entire com­mu­ni­ties, seek­ing to cause fear and intim­i­da­tion. I know from per­son­al expe­ri­ence when my office was fire-bombed, or when my life and that of my fam­i­ly and office col­leagues was threat­ened because we were Arab Amer­i­cans or because we advo­cat­ed for Pales­tin­ian rights. The intent was to silence and intim­i­date us and to spread fear through­out our com­mu­ni­ty. In this regard, hate crimes are a threat to our very demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem. Those who incite and cre­ate a cli­mate of intol­er­ance towards groups or caus­es con­tribute to cre­at­ing the envi­ron­ment from which haters spring. They are as much a threat as the per­pe­tra­tors of hate crimes them­selves.”

Robert S. McCaw, Director of Government Affairs Department, CAIR
“We are com­mu­ni­ties that are under attack, our hous­es of wor­ship are being van­dal­ized and burnt to the ground, our wor­shipers face death threats for attend­ing their sacred spaces, and many are afraid to go out in the pub­lic. We can­not remain silent. We can­not as a coun­try look the oth­er way. This is real. This is hap­pen­ing. This can­not be ignored. We need assur­ance from our gov­ern­ment that this will not con­tin­ue to occur as it is with­out any fore­see­able end. This is not the new nor­mal. As a nation we can­not allow it to be.”

Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Statement Condemning Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion, strong­ly con­demns Pres­i­dent Trump’s revised and stub­born­ly racist Exec­u­tive Order effec­tive­ly ban­ning Mus­lims, reject­ing refugees, and expand­ing sur­veil­lance on Mus­lim-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties under the guise of nation­al secu­ri­ty.

“In a twist­ed dance of tri­al and error, the Pres­i­dent con­tin­ues his dogged pur­suit of a Mus­lim ban despite nation­al out­rage and a unan­i­mous Ninth Cir­cuit deci­sion block­ing enforce­ment of his orig­i­nal Order,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “No mat­ter the legal gym­nas­tics, this lat­est order is a thin­ly veiled assault on Mus­lims, immi­grants, peo­ple of col­or, and the found­ing ideals of equal­i­ty and free­dom in the Unit­ed States.

Today’s order tar­gets immi­gra­tion from six Mus­lim-major­i­ty coun­tries deemed ter­ror­ism-prone, despite the Ninth Cir­cuit point­ing out that the gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ed no evi­dence to jus­ti­fy this claim. The Pres­i­den­t’s orig­i­nal order cur­tailed rights, broke up fam­i­lies, den­i­grat­ed Mus­lims and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties, and today’s order threat­ens to do the same. Carv­ing out excep­tions for some immi­grants does not make this order any more accept­able.

“I’m here fol­low­ing through on what I pledged to do, that’s all I’m doing” not­ed Pres­i­dent Trump in a recent press con­fer­ence. This is indeed true. SAALT’s recent report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” doc­u­ments over 200 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric against South Asian, Mus­lim, Hin­du, Sikh, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans dur­ing the 2016 elec­tions, with 94% of inci­dents moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment and Pres­i­dent Trump respon­si­ble for 21% of the rhetoric we tracked.

Trump’s dan­ger­ous com­bi­na­tion of rhetoric and poli­cies has fanned the flames of vio­lence, includ­ing the dead­ly Feb­ru­ary shoot­ing of two Indi­an men in Kansas and this week­end’s shoot­ing of a Sikh man in Kent, Wash­ing­ton. The assailants in both cas­es told the vic­tims to leave the US and go back to their coun­tries before open­ing fire. In the last sev­en weeks four mosques have been burned, numer­ous homes have been van­dal­ized, and threats have rou­tine­ly been made against our com­mu­ni­ties.

The fear, intim­i­da­tion, and anx­i­ety car­ried by mil­lions in our com­mu­ni­ties every­day are the invis­i­ble wounds pro­duced by this admin­is­tra­tion’s reck­less poli­cies that con­tin­ue with today’s revised Exec­u­tive Order. SAALT calls upon the Pres­i­dent to imme­di­ate­ly reverse course and end his cam­paign against Mus­lim and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties. It is time for the White House to set the tone for our nation and turn its back on poi­so­nous rhetoric. It is time for our nation to begin to heal from the vio­lence.

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org