SAALT Joins Allies in Demanding NYPD Investigate attack on Hindu Priest as a Hate Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 22, 2019

SAALT joins Sad­hana, CAIR, and faith based allies in call­ing for the NYPD to inves­ti­gate the attack on Swa­mi Ji Har­ish Chan­der Puri in Queens, NY  as a hate crime.  

Swa­mi Ji Har­ish Chan­der Puri was walk­ing down the street wear­ing his tra­di­tion­al reli­gious clothes in Glen Oaks, Queens not far from the Shiv Shak­ti Peeth tem­ple around 11am last Thurs­day.  A man came up from behind him and start­ed beat­ing him.  

Eye­wit­ness­es say the attack­er shout­ed “this is my neigh­bor­hood,” dur­ing the inci­dent. 

Puri had to be rushed to the hos­pi­tal because of his injuries.  

This inci­dent hap­pened just days after Pres­i­dent Trump tweet­ed about the four women of col­or Con­gress­women known as “the Squad”:  “Why don’t they go back and help fix the total­ly bro­ken and crime infest­ed places from which they came. ” Just days after that, crowds chant­ed “send her back” about Con­gress­woman Ilhan Omar at a Trump ral­ly in North Car­oli­na.

“There will be no end to hate vio­lence unless we dis­rupt and dis­man­tle the racist nar­ra­tives and poli­cies lead­ing to this vio­lence. This should start from the top, but instead the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment are encour­ag­ing this vio­lence,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, SAALT’s Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor.

Racist polit­i­cal rhetoric from this admin­is­tra­tion is dan­ger­ous. It has a direct impact on com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the coun­try. SAALT’s Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report found that one in 5 per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence in the year after Pres­i­dent Trump was elect­ed cit­ed Trump’s name, a Trump cam­paign slo­gan, or a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy while com­mit­ting the act of vio­lence.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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Update on South Asian restaurant workers detained by ICE

July 11, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: A com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber reached out to SAALT last week alert­ing staff that sev­er­al South Asian restau­rant employ­ees had been detained by ICE and tak­en to the Mont­gomery Coun­ty Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty the week before.  

Giv­en that the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion has announced immi­nent raids, SAALT issued a com­mu­ni­ty alert to pre­pare our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers for future ICE raids in the com­ing days or weeks. 

Over 500 peo­ple respond­ed to the alert, vol­un­teer­ing to help com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers pre­pare by offer­ing to assist with legal mat­ters, pro­vide lan­guage sup­port, and to dis­trib­ute Know Your Rights mate­ri­als  in DC.

A com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber pro­vid­ing direct sup­port to the detained South Asian restau­rant employ­ees reached out to SAALT and said, “Two weeks ago, nine South Asian restau­rant work­ers were detained by ICE at the Mont­gomery Coun­ty Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty. Four were released the same day and the remain­ing five indi­vid­u­als were released at a lat­er date.” 

South Asians are increas­ing­ly impact­ed direct­ly by the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s anti-immi­grant poli­cies and SAALT strives to pro­tect and defend our com­mu­ni­ties by exam­in­ing and doc­u­ment­ing the impact of these poli­cies, cre­at­ing edu­ca­tion­al resources, and mak­ing pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions. 

There are over 600,000 undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­ans alone in the U.S. Between fis­cal year 2015 to 2018, ICE arrest­ed over 2,000 Indi­an and Pak­istani migrants alone with­in the inte­ri­or of the Unit­ed States. The num­ber of Indi­an migrants appre­hend­ed along the South­ern bor­der tripled from fis­cal year 2017 to 2018Between Octo­ber 2014 and April 2018, Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) arrest­ed over 17,000 South Asians.  South Asians go on to expe­ri­ence civ­il rights vio­la­tions and human rights abus­es in deten­tion facil­i­ties and court rooms at the inter­sec­tions of racism, islam­o­pho­bia, and anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment. 

SAALT will con­tin­ue to work to pro­tect and defend South Asian com­mu­ni­ties in the US, espe­cial­ly at a time when immi­grants are being tar­get­ed, whether at their work­places, homes, restau­rants, hotels, or along the bor­der.

Restau­rant Oppor­tu­ni­ty Cen­ter (ROC-DC), a restau­rant work­ers’ rights orga­ni­za­tion, issued this state­ment, in response to the alert about the detained South Asian restau­rant employ­ees: 

ICE raids are a seri­ous issue for immi­grant work­ers all of the time but are espe­cial­ly preva­lent in light of the most recent threats. There have already been mul­ti­ple cas­es of ICE activ­i­ty in our DC com­mu­ni­ties and that activ­i­ty specif­i­cal­ly tar­gets restau­rants and restau­rant work­ers. Right now we need to come togeth­er as work­ers, employ­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in DC to edu­cate our­selves on our rights so that we are able to pro­tect our­selves and each oth­er in our work­places, the streets and in our homes.

We do not want to cre­ate a cul­ture of fear around these issues but instead empow­er peo­ple to know what their rights are and who their com­mu­ni­ty is that is here to sup­port them. ROC DC has been work­ing with mul­ti­ple oth­er com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions to pro­vide know your rights mate­ri­als & train­ings to work­ers and employ­ers in DC in prepa­ra­tion for any raids. We must con­tin­ue to band togeth­er and fight back the racist attacks that seek to tear apart our com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies.

Con­tact: Sophia@saalt.org 

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ACTION ALERT: ICE Raids Indian Restaurant in DC

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.