Diverse Community Organization Applaud Senate Hearing on Hate Violence Next Week

Diverse Com­mu­ni­ty Orga­ni­za­tions Applaud Sen­ate Hear­ing on Hate Vio­lence Next Week | PDF

For imme­di­ate release:
Sep­tem­ber 13, 2012

(New York, New York) Sep­tem­ber 12, 2012 — In the wake of the trag­ic, hate-moti­vat­ed shoot­ings in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin, a Unit­ed States Sen­ate Sub­com­mit­tee announced that it will hold a hear­ing on the threat posed by hate and extrem­ist groups in the Unit­ed States.

The hear­ing, enti­tled “Hate Crimes & the Threat of Domes­tic Extrem­ism,” will be held before the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Sub­com­mit­tee on the Con­sti­tu­tion, Civ­il Rights, and Human Rights, chaired by Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin (D‑IL), on Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 19, 2012 in Dirk­sen Sen­ate Office Build­ing Room 226 start­ing at 2:30 p.m.  Fol­low­ing the brief­ing, lead­ing civ­il rights and inter­faith orga­ni­za­tions that have spent the past decade work­ing on com­mu­ni­ty and pol­i­cy chal­lenges per­tain­ing to hate crimes, will hold a brief press con­fer­ence high­light­ing reac­tions to the hear­ing and out­lin­ing next steps.

On August 21, a diverse group of more than 150 orga­ni­za­tions, led by the Sikh Coali­tion, request­ed a Sen­ate hear­ing on hate crimes and domes­tic extrem­ism. The imme­di­ate response by the Sen­ate to this request indi­cates the sever­i­ty of this prob­lem and the impor­tance of polit­i­cal lead­er­ship part­ner­ing with com­mu­ni­ties of all faiths and races to iden­ti­fy pol­i­cy solu­tions that will make our coun­try safer.

“We com­mend Sen­a­tor Durbin’s lead­er­ship in call­ing for this unprece­dent­ed hear­ing,” said Amardeep Singh, Co-founder and Pro­gram Direc­tor for the Sikh Coali­tion, the nation’s largest Sikh civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion. “As the tragedy in Oak Creek remind­ed us, the threat of domes­tic extrem­ist hate vio­lence is real, ever-present, and grow­ing.  The top­ic of domes­tic extrem­ist hate vio­lence cer­tain­ly needs a Sen­ate plat­form. We expect that the hear­ing will bring this prob­lem to light and explore the solu­tions need­ed to pre­vent anoth­er Oak Creek from hap­pen­ing.” Reach Mr. Singh at amar@sikhcoalition.org.

“SAALT wel­comes next week’s hear­ing and com­mends Sen­a­tor Durbin’s lead­er­ship in address­ing hate vio­lence and bias against all Amer­i­cans.  We join our part­ner orga­ni­za­tions in bring­ing light to the issue of hate vio­lence which is on the rise, and in pro­vid­ing pol­i­cy solu­tions that can make our coun­try a safer place,” said Deepa Iyer, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT).  Reach Ms. Iyer at info@saalt.org.

“The Anti-Defama­tion League wel­comes Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee hear­ings on response to hate crimes and the imple­men­ta­tion of the Matthew Shep­ard James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA),” said Michael Lieber­man, ADL Wash­ing­ton Coun­sel. The ADL was the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion that fought for pas­sage of the Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act.  “The hor­ri­ble bias-moti­vat­ed mur­ders of Sikhs in their house of wor­ship in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin last month demon­strate, once again, the trag­ic impact of hate vio­lence — and the crit­i­cal impor­tance of part­ner­ships between gov­ern­ment and com­mu­ni­ty groups to pre­vent these crimes and respond effec­tive­ly.” Reach Mr. Lieber­man at MLieberman@adl.org.

“No one should live in fear of wor­ship­ing freely, express­ing affec­tion with one’s part­ner or spouse, or sim­ply lead­ing their day-to-day lives,” said Wade Hen­der­son, Pres­i­dent and CEO of The Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence on Civ­il and Human Rights, the largest civ­il and human rights coali­tion in the Unit­ed States. “Pass­ing the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act was a his­toric step toward end­ing bias crimes, and this hear­ing marks an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty to revis­it the law’s impact on pro­tect­ing diverse com­mu­ni­ties, ensure its full and effec­tive enforce­ment, and refine our tech­niques for pre­vent­ing these crimes from occur­ring in the first place.” Reach Mr. Hen­der­son at Simpson@civilrights.org.

“The Nation­al Urban League com­mends Sen. Dick Durbin for hold­ing hear­ings to shine a light on the threat of domes­tic extrem­ism and hate crimes,” said Marc Mor­i­al, Pres­i­dent and Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of the Nation­al Urban League.  “Rad­i­cal, vio­lent rhetoric and behav­ior in the pur­suit of any ide­ol­o­gy, polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy or social agen­da can­not be tol­er­at­ed in a free and civ­il soci­ety.    Indeed, a hate crime against even one cit­i­zen is a threat to all Amer­i­cans, and we stand in sol­i­dar­i­ty with SAALT and the Oak Creek Com­mu­ni­ty as they look for answers and a peace­ful path for­ward.” Reach Mr. Mor­i­al at pruckersprings@nul.org.

“We join with peo­ple from all back­grounds who stand unit­ed against hate crimes and domes­tic extrem­ism. No one should live in fear while going about their dai­ly busi­ness, whether it be attend­ing a wor­ship ser­vice, hold­ing the hand of the per­son they love, or sim­ply being who they are. Les­bian, gay, bisex­u­al and trans­gen­der peo­ple, espe­cial­ly those of col­or, under­stand all too well what it’s like to be tar­get­ed for being who they are,” says Rea Carey, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Nation­al Gay and Les­bian Task Force.  The Task Force has led nation­al advo­ca­cy on gay civ­il rights issues. “The Sen­ate is doing the right thing by shin­ing a light on the con­tin­u­ing scourge of hate vio­lence. One of Amer­i­ca’s great­est assets is its rich diver­si­ty, and intim­i­da­tion and vio­lence against any­one should not be tol­er­at­ed.” Reach Ms. Carey at rcarey@theTaskForce.org.

“We com­mend the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Sub­com­mit­tee on the Con­sti­tu­tion, Civ­il Rights & Human Rights for its time­ly hear­ing to exam­ine hate crimes,” said Jose Perez, Lati­no­Jus­tice Asso­ciate Gen­er­al Coun­sel and Legal Direc­tor.  Lati­no­Jus­tice has led advo­ca­cy on behalf of Lati­no hate crime vic­tims. “We join with our fel­low civ­il rights col­leagues and hope the hear­ing will iden­ti­fy the caus­es for such extrem­ist behav­ior, and devel­op poten­tial solu­tions to again make the U.S.A. the wel­com­ing haven it has his­tor­i­cal­ly been for all immi­grants.” Reach Mr. Perez at jperez@latinojustice.org.

“The attack on the Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin marked a deeply dis­turb­ing esca­la­tion of hate vio­lence against Sikh, Mus­lim, South Asian and Arab Amer­i­cans,” said Farhana Khera, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Mus­lim Advo­cates, a lead­ing Mus­lim civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion.  “Hate vio­lence has now reached a cri­sis point in our nation requir­ing the atten­tion and lead­er­ship of the Pres­i­dent and con­gres­sion­al lead­ers, and we com­mend Sen­a­tor Durbin for hold­ing a hear­ing that sheds light on the hate and dis­crim­i­na­tion that is fuel­ing the vio­lence against inno­cent Amer­i­cans.”  Reach Ms. Khera at Fatima@muslimadvocates.org.

“The tragedy in Oak Creek calls upon us to have a nation­al con­ver­sa­tion about how to com­bat hate in Amer­i­ca,” said Valar­ie Kaur, Direc­tor of Groundswell at Auburn Sem­i­nary. Ms. Kaur has spent con­sid­er­able time with vic­tims of the Oak Creek mas­sacre. “As peo­ple from many faith tra­di­tions — Chris­t­ian, Jew, Mus­lim, Sikh, Bud­dhist, Hin­du and Human­ist — we believe that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us   We wel­come this con­gres­sion­al hear­ing as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to cat­alyze intro­spec­tion and action not only in our halls of pow­er but also in our schools, work­places, hous­es of wor­ship, and com­mu­ni­ties. ” Reach Ms. Kaur at vkaur@auburnseminary.org.

“Since the events of 9/11 there has been a fix­a­tion on extrem­ism and rad­i­cal­iza­tion in the Mus­lim Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty which has blind­ed us to real and immi­nent domes­tic threats of vio­lence from oth­er groups includ­ing white suprema­cists,” said Lin­da Sar­sour, Nation­al Advo­ca­cy Direc­tor, Nation­al Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties (NNAAC). “This hear­ing is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to look at hate crimes and extrem­ism through a broad­er lens. We com­mend Sen­a­tor Durbin on his lead­er­ship once again.” Ms. Sar­sour has led the com­mu­ni­ty response to spy­ing by the New York City Police Depart­ment on Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties in New York City.  Reach Ms. Sar­sour at lsarsour@accesscommunity.org.

“The Japan­ese Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens League com­mends the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee for hold­ing this vital hear­ing on hate crimes and domes­tic extrem­ism. Our orga­ni­za­tion has always stood stead­fast against attacks and vio­lence fueled by hatred and looks for­ward to the pub­lic dis­cus­sion on strong mea­sures that the gov­ern­ment, com­mu­ni­ty stake­hold­ers, and the pub­lic can take to end big­otry in this coun­try,” said Priscil­la Ouch­i­da, Nation­al Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Japan­ese Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens League.

The Sikh Coali­tion has set up an RSVP link for peo­ple to indi­cate whether they can attend the hear­ing.

Sikh Coali­tion Con­tact:

Amardeep Singh, amar@sikhcoalition.org, 212–655-3095 x83
Rajdeep Singh, rajdeep@sikhcoaliton.org, (202) 747‑4944
South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er Con­tact:
Deepa Iyer, deepa@saalt.org, (301) 270‑1855