SAALT Condemns White Supremacist Violence and Mourns the Loss of Life in Charlottesville, VA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al civ­il rights and racial jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion, con­demns this week­end’s white suprema­cist, neo-Nazi, KKK ral­lies in Char­lottesville, VA and mourns the loss of life in the ter­ror­ist attack that killed Heather Hey­er and injured 20 peace­ful anti-racist pro­tes­tors. The admin­is­tra­tion’s delayed, insuf­fi­cient, and tone deaf response to both the blood­shed and hate is a clear sign that the White House does not take the val­ues of free­dom, jus­tice, and equal­i­ty for all Amer­i­cans seri­ous­ly.

“In recent months, white suprema­cist hate groups have tar­get­ed South Asians, Mus­lims, Sikhs, Hin­dus, African Amer­i­cans, Jews, Lati­nos, and oth­er immi­grants and peo­ple of col­or in a ris­ing tide of vio­lence. This week­end’s trag­ic events in Char­lottesville, and the admin­is­tra­tion’s ane­mic response, is emblem­at­ic of the White House­’s ongo­ing cam­paign against com­mu­ni­ties of col­or,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “We demand a total and com­plete shut­down of white suprema­cy and insist the Pres­i­dent aban­dons the anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim, and anti-Amer­i­can poli­cies and rhetoric that have val­i­dat­ed and embold­ened such vio­lence across the nation. We also demand that the white suprema­cist lead­er­ship in this admin­is­tra­tion be imme­di­ate­ly ter­mi­nat­ed.”

Since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed 141 inci­dents of vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab Amer­i­can, already sur­pass­ing totals from the year lead­ing up to the elec­tion. The admin­is­tra­tion’s anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant rhetoric and poli­cies have embold­ened and encour­aged such vio­lence, includ­ing in May when two men in Port­land were stabbed to death while attempt­ing to stop a not­ed white suprema­cist from ver­bal­ly attack­ing a Mus­lim pas­sen­ger on a train.

Accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC), white suprema­cist groups grew by over 54% from 2001 to 2014, with Klan groups grow­ing from 72 to 190 in num­ber between 2014 and 2015.

At Char­lottesville on Sat­ur­day, David Duke, the for­mer Impe­r­i­al Wiz­ard of the KKK, stat­ed, “This rep­re­sents a turn­ing point for the peo­ple of this coun­try. We are deter­mined to take our coun­try back. We are going to ful­fill the promis­es of Don­ald Trump. That’s what we believed and that’s why we vot­ed for Don­ald Trump.”

Our con­sti­tu­tion­al guar­an­tees of free­dom have been hijacked by white suprema­cist hate groups, with sup­port from the White House, and we must con­tin­ue to respond with a defin­i­tive and uni­fied push­back. SAALT stands ready with our part­ners and com­mu­ni­ties to con­tin­ue the resis­tance against divi­sion and dis­crim­i­na­tion until our com­mu­ni­ties are free to live in a just and inclu­sive soci­ety for all Amer­i­cans.

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org