Civil Rights Groups, North Carolina State and Local Officials Call For An End to Hate Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), issued the fol­low­ing state­ment sub­se­quent to SAALT’s Octo­ber 7 town hall on hate vio­lence in Cary, North Car­oli­na in col­lab­o­ra­tion with state and local offi­cials, law enforce­ment, and com­mu­ni­ty based orga­ni­za­tions:

“America’s high­est ideals are root­ed in the fact that we are all cre­at­ed equal and have the right to pray, love, live with free­dom. Nev­er­the­less, our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to be attacked and tar­get­ed via leg­is­la­tion based upon our real and per­ceived reli­gion. This has to end.”

“From three Mus­lim Bans to con­temptible sup­port of white suprema­cy, this admin­is­tra­tion has encour­aged and embold­ened hate vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties.  Since the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump, SAALT has tracked over 179 inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­can, already sur­pass­ing totals from the year lead­ing up to the 2016 elec­tion.”

“In Feb­ru­ary 2015 three young Mus­lim Chapel Hill stu­dents and activists were mur­dered in their home by their neigh­bor.  In June 2016 Army Reserve offi­cer Rus­sel Thomas Lang­ford left bacon out­side of a mosque, harassed con­gre­gants in the park­ing lot, and then made death threats, which accord­ing to Capt. John Kivett of the Sheriff’s Office, includ­ed telling “peo­ple at the mosque that he would kill them and bury them behind the mosque.”  In May 2017, vul­gar Islam­o­pho­bic car­toons depict­ing a pig per­form­ing a sex­u­al act on top of a Mus­lim man were post­ed across the res­i­den­tial halls at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Char­lotte.”

“These inci­dents reflect increas­ing big­otry and divi­sion tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try. This admin­is­tra­tion has done noth­ing to pre­vent or con­demn vig­i­lante vio­lence or to denounce the views of die-hard racists, and has rather used the full pow­er of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to refill our nation’s reser­voir of hate with every anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant pol­i­cy and tweet it hurls.”

“In response to the uptick in hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try, SAALT is host­ing region­al town halls this year on key issues for our com­mu­ni­ties. SAALT thanks Attor­ney Gen­er­al Josh Stein, Sen­a­tor Angela Bryant, Sen­a­tor Jay Chaud­huri, For­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Glazier, Far­ris Barakat, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, the North Car­oli­na mem­bers of the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions (NCSO), and our allies and spon­sors for col­lab­o­rat­ing on this urgent town hall.

In this time of polit­i­cal and social divi­sive­ness, an answer to hate vio­lence seems impos­si­ble, yet the solu­tion remains clear: we must remain unit­ed for action and stand with each oth­er to demand that all Amer­i­cans are afford­ed full inclu­sion and jus­tice in our coun­try.  We must refuse to allow prej­u­dice to go unchecked as we work to form a more per­fect union togeth­er.”

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Quotes:

Attorney General Josh Stein:

“Crim­i­nals who tar­get peo­ple with vio­lence because of who they are, where they are from, or how they pray must be con­demned. Hate crimes go against every­thing this coun­try stands for. I am com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing North Carolina’s response to hate crimes and work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to pre­vent these crimes that incite fear and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty among our neigh­bors.”

State Senator Jay Chaudhuri:

“Amer­i­ca was found­ed on the ide­al that all of us are cre­at­ed equal. Hate vio­lence that tar­gets our com­mu­ni­ties tar­gets our coun­try’s found­ing val­ues. Amer­i­ca has no room for vio­lence based on some­one’s race, reli­gion, iden­ti­ty, and nation of ori­gin, and we must denounce these acts in the strongest pos­si­ble terms. I am com­mit­ted to work­ing with state and local author­i­ties, and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, to make sure North Car­oli­na stands up to hate and not on the side­lines.”

Rick Glazier - Executive Director, North Carolina Justice Center

“A trust is placed in each of us-by future gen­er­a­tions not yet born-to ful­fill our main­te­nance oblig­a­tion to fight pover­ty and dis­ease, igno­rance and big­otry, and apa­thy and dis­trust.”

Chavi Koneru - Executive Director, North Carolina Asian Americans Together:

“As an orga­ni­za­tion bring­ing to light the issues fac­ing the Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty in North Car­oli­na, we are great­ly con­cerned about the rise in hate vio­lence towards mem­bers of our com­mu­ni­ty who are Mus­lim or per­ceived to be Mus­lim. This town hall is begin­ning a dis­cus­sion we need to have in this state about col­lec­tive­ly address­ing the issue of hate vio­lence and sup­port­ing pol­i­cy changes that can bring it to an end.”

Ritu Kaur - Kiran Inc.

“Do you real­ize hate crimes and domes­tic vio­lence have sim­i­lar trau­mat­ic effect on the vic­tims and on the com­mu­ni­ty? Let us speak out.”

Farris Barakat - The Lighthouse Projects

“As prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion threat­en more peo­ple and is nor­mal­ized in offices as high up as the pres­i­den­cy, an active and grass­roots effort to counter this dark­ness is a civic duty on the peo­ple of con­scious­ness.”

Kulpreet Singh - Sikh Gurdwara

“Each of us is a tremen­dous resource, and the world is a bet­ter place when we com­mu­ni­cate and work togeth­er because of, not despite, our dif­fer­ences.”

Chris Blue - Town of Chapel Hill, Chief of Police and Executive Director for Community Safety

“I am hon­ored to have been among the impres­sive pan­elists who spoke so pas­sion­ate­ly today about the nature of hate in our soci­ety and the deter­mi­na­tion and com­pas­sion that will be required of all of us to over­come it.  I am also heart­ened by the good work going on in North Car­oli­na toward mak­ing this a place of inclu­siv­i­ty for every­one.”

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Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org