SAALT Responds to Tragic Kansas Shooting — This Country is for All of Us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, is deeply dis­turbed by the dead­ly shoot­ing of two South Asian men, Alok Madasani and Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la, in Kansas City that left one vic­tim dead in what appears to be a hate crime.  Our thoughts and con­do­lences go to the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties. Sad­ly, this lat­est act of vio­lence comes as no sur­prise giv­en the anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim vit­ri­ol esca­lat­ing across the coun­try, most notably illus­trat­ed in Pres­i­dent Trump’s divi­sive recent exec­u­tive orders.

“This inci­dent is the lat­est in a ris­ing tide of hate vio­lence against South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern and Arab com­mu­ni­ties, elec­tri­fied by the Pres­i­den­t’s anti-immi­grant poli­cies,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “When our ‘so-called’ lead­ers attempt to gov­ern from an angle of xeno­pho­bia, these sen­ti­ments embold­en dead­ly vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Wit­ness­es report­ed the shoot­er yelled “get out of my coun­try” and var­i­ous racial slurs before open­ing fire, appar­ent­ly believ­ing his two vic­tims were ‘Mid­dle East­ern’. SAALT wel­comes news that the FBI is inves­ti­gat­ing whether this inci­dent was racial­ly moti­vat­ed and we insist that con­sid­er­a­tions of domes­tic ter­ror­ism are includ­ed in the inves­ti­ga­tion to address the prob­lem of grow­ing white suprema­cy across the coun­try.

SAALT’s lat­est report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” doc­u­ments over 200 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic rhetoric against our com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the 2016 elec­tions, with an astound­ing 95% of inci­dents moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. Regard­less of the tar­get, it is enough sim­ply to be per­ceived as Mus­lim to be the vic­tim of vio­lence.

The Pres­i­dent has yet to com­ment or offer his con­do­lences to the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies after this lat­est tragedy, con­sis­tent with his pat­tern of curi­ous silence in the wake of hate vio­lence inci­dents against many com­mu­ni­ties includ­ing Mus­lim, Arab, South Asian, and Jew­ish Amer­i­cans. When tragedies charged with anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment occur on the heels of anti-immi­grant exec­u­tive orders by the Pres­i­dent, we must demand bet­ter from our lead­ers. SAALT calls on the Pres­i­dent to imme­di­ate­ly denounce hate vio­lence and rescind his recent anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim exec­u­tive orders. We fur­ther encour­age leg­is­la­tors at all lev­els to con­demn this unac­cept­able vio­lence.

Despite the ven­omous words of the shoot­er, there is a place in Amer­i­ca for all of our com­mu­ni­ties, and we will fight fierce­ly for our right­ful place with­in it.

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org