FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 28, 2017
Contact: Mary Tablante;
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Members Call for Justice in Kansas Hate Crime Shooting
A shooting last week in Olathe, Kansas, targeted two Indian Americans, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani. Kuchibhotla was killed, and Madasani and Ian Grillot were injured. This afternoon, the FBI announced that it was investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
We extend our thoughts and condolences to these victims and their families. While we support the FBI investigating the shooting as a hate crime, we also expect the Department of Justice will prosecute it as a hate crime. Furthermore, as recent political rhetoric and policy proposals create an atmosphere that fosters racism, xenophobia, and bigotry, we must resist normalizing this hate.
We also acknowledge that today, President Trump has finally condemned this shooting as “an act of racially motivated hatred.” But he continues to be silent or slow to react to incidents of hate--from this shooting to the desecration of mosques and Jewish cemeteries to bomb threats against Jewish community centers and school--this hate demands a faster and more forceful response from our president.
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a Co-Chair of NCAPA’s Civil Rights Committee and has documented the disturbing trend of the rising hate violence and xenophobic rhetoric against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern and Arab communities in a recent report.
“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,” said Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together. “When our ‘so-called’ leaders attempt to govern from an angle of xenophobia, these sentiments embolden deadly violence against our communities.”
"In response to the increasing vitriol towards our communities, our government must be our first line of defense,” said Vichal Kumar, President of the South Asian Bar Association of North America. “Governments must protect the rights of minorities and ensure the safety of all of its citizens Yet, in the face of senseless violence and apparent hate crimes, the calls for support, solidarity and protection by our government remain faint.”
“Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his wife Sunayana Dumala came to this country to pursue the American dream and the noble ideals it stands for,” said Christopher Kang, National Director of NCAPA. “When a shooter yelled ‘get out of my country’ and killed Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani, he shattered this dream, and Dumala was forced to ask, ‘Do we belong?’ The answer, unequivocally, must be yes. Our nation is a nation built by immigrants, that will not be divided, and that stands up to hate, bigotry, and xenophobia. Our nation is the nation of Ian Grillot, who was shot and injured as he defended the principle that ‘everybody is an equal.’”
To contribute to the tracking of hate crimes, use the hashtag #TrackHate on social media and report it to SAALT, using this form.
To call on President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to denounce the Olathe shootings, condemn hate violence and withdraw anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim executive orders, sign the Asian Americans Advancing Justice petition.
Full statements from NCAPA member organizations:
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 34 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.