March 5, 2017 (Kent, WA) – A Sikh man (who has chosen to remain anonymous) was shot and injured late Friday in Kent, Washington. According to news reports, the gunman – who is still at large – told him to “go back to your own country.” In an email to the Sikh Coalition, the local police department has confirmed that the shooting is being investigated as a potential hate crime.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh man and his family.
This shooting is the latest in a string of attacks on minorities throughout the country – including bomb threats to Jewish community centers, arson attacks on mosques, and the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian-American engineer who was told “get out of my country” before being shot along with two others in Kansas last month.
Given this broader context in which the Kent shooting occurred, the Sikh Coalition has written to local, state, and federal officials urging them to:
— conduct a thorough hate crime investigation
— improve laws and regulations relating to bias prevention
— organize Know Your Rights forums to build resilience in targeted communities
— partner with Sikh Americans to expand Sikh awareness and appreciation.
What You Can Do
We should not wait until someone gets hurt or killed to report hate incidents. We must be vigilant. If someone says hateful things about your Sikh identity, don’t ignore it – rather, please report the incident to the Sikh Coalition on our Report Hate website – http://reporthate.org – or send an email to our legal team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we encourage you to practice your faith fearlessly.