For Immediate Release

Primary Press Contact: Mark Reading-Smith
Media & Communications Director, the Sikh Coalition, 202-380-8489.

DOJ Move Raises Hopes After WA Hate Crime

April 6, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the Department of Justice provided an update on its new crime reduction task force by announcing a new subcommittee to address hate crimes. The announcement was made just three days after 13 U.S. Senators led by Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for the Trump Administration to launch a new Presidential Task Force to prevent hate violence.

“We are pleased to see the Department of Justice taking the necessary first step to prevent hate violence and look forward to additional concrete action,” said Rajdeep Singh Jolly, Interim Managing Director of Programs at the Sikh Coalition. “As Americans, we all must do everything in our power to prevent the loss of lives and loved ones to hate, and the DOJ must ensure that its hate crime subcommittee is fully resourced and functional, not something that merely exists on paper."

On March 3rd, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot near Seattle after the gunman allegedly told him to “go back to your own country.” On February 22nd, 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 at their places of worship.

“The DOJ task force should be non-partisan and should use its convening power to promote long-term collaboration between government agencies, civil society groups, and communities that are targeted by hate crimes,” said Rajdeep Singh Jolly.

Since September 11, 2001, the Sikh Coalition estimates that a Sikh American is hundreds of times more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than the average American, often because Sikhs wear turbans and maintain unshorn beards. These articles of faith remind Sikhs to uphold their religious ideals, which include a commitment to community service, social justice, and universal human rights. Sikh Americans have been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years.

The Sikh Coalition is the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the United States and has 15 years of legal and policy expertise on issues related to hate crimes. For more information about the Sikh community or for potential interviews, please contact Mark Reading-Smith.