Kent Shooting of a Sikh Man
Last week a Sikh man in Kent was told “go back to your own country” before he was shot in his driveway. This incident, along with the shooting of two Indian men in Kansas, was not a coincidence but a reflection of the current political climate here in the United States. Since the election, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other hateful language and actions has proliferated from the highest office in this country giving license to individuals to vandalize, harass, assault and to kill.
Seattle and the surrounding area is no exception to acts of hate. Within the same week as the Kent shooting, a synagogue in Seattle had been vandalized with Holocaust denial graffiti. In January, an African American Muslim teenager was hung in Lake Stevens. The Islamic Center of Eastside in Bellevue was also torched in the same month. These instances of hate crimes are part of a historical continuation that spans from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the murders of Vincent Chin, Joseph Ileto, and Balbir Singh Sodhi. In 2017, we hope that these instances of hate crimes will end, but discrimination and violence is here.
OCA-Greater Seattle, a civil rights group dedicated to the advancement and well-being of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, stands in solidarity with communities who have experienced hate. The travel ban against Muslim countries, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations, and other actions by our current government is eroding our civil rights and liberties. More importantly, hate crimes have risen in correlation against communities of color, transgender, Jewish, and Muslim communities. We must push back. We must continue to work together, advocate, and build community. We hope that the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local law enforcement will work together in protecting vulnerable communities. And we will continue to pressure and hold these agencies accountable to bring justice forward. Faith over fear. Love conquers.