13 U.S. Senators demand White House action on hate crimes

The Sikh Coalition holds a press conference and rally in Darien, Illinois, where Inderjit Singh Mukker was the victim of a hate crime.
Photo: Alyssa Schukar Photo released to Sikh Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C.: In collaboration with the Sikh Coalition, 13 U.S. Senators led by Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) on Monday called on the Trump administration to launch a new presidential task force to prevent hate violence.

Pointing to the success of previous White House task forces, the letter envisions government agencies and grassroots community groups working together proactively to share resources and best practices to save lives and stem the growth of hate violence.

“We applaud Senator Cantwell and her colleagues for recommending concrete action to prevent hate violence,” said Rajdeep Singh Jolly, Interim Managing Director of Programs at the Sikh Coalition. “As Americans, we expect accountability from our national leaders and hope the White House will do everything in its power to prevent the loss of lives and loved ones to hate.”

On March 3, a Sikh man was shot near Seattle after the gunman allegedly told him to “go back to your own country.” On February 22, a Hindu man, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was shot and killed in Olathe, Kansas, after the attacker yelled, “get out of my country.” The first three months of 2017 have witnessed steady reports of harassment, threats and violence against religious minorities in the United States and their places of worship.

“Hate impacts us all and I thank the Sikh Coalition for providing critical leadership,” said Seattle-area Sikh community leader, Jasmit Singh. “We must do more to combat hate in local communities across the United States, and that starts with our federal officials making prevention of hate violence a top priority.”

Joining Cantwell in signing the letter were Senators Ed Markey (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Mazie Hirono (HI), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Chris Murphy (CT), Ron Wyden (OR), Jeff Merkley (OR), Bob Casey, Jr. (PA), Dick Durbin (IL), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Tammy Duckworth (IL).