For Immediate Release
Primary Press Contact: Mark Reading-Smith
Media & Communications Director, the Sikh Coalition
Secondary Press Contact: Jagmeet Singh
Media & Communications Manager, the Sikh Coalition
March 5, 2017 (Kent, WA) – On the evening of March 3rd, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot near Seattle after the gunman allegedly told him to “to back to your own country.” The attacker remains at large.
While the Kent Police Department has moved swiftly to investigate the shooting as a hate crime, the Sikh Coalition is calling on national leaders – including the Trump administration – to take concrete actions to prevent future hate crimes.
“We applaud the decision by the Kent Police Department to pursue a hate crime investigation,” said Sikh Coalition Interim Program Manager, Rajdeep Singh. “We are thankful for everything that local authorities are doing to locate the suspect and protect the Sikh community.”
The Sikh man, who still wishes to remain unidentified as he recovers from his non-life-threatening injuries, is one of hundreds of Americans to be the target of bigotry, bias and backlash since November 2016.
“We are all accountable for what happened in Kent, Washington on Friday night,” said Seattle-area community leader, Jasmit Singh. “From the gunman’s family and friends who can help bring him to justice, to our elected officials who create public policy at home and in Washington D.C., we all must do more to confront this growing epidemic of hate violence.”
The Sikh American community, which has been an integral part of the American fabric for over 125 years, is estimated to be hundreds of times more likely to suffer hate crimes than the average American. This is in part due to the Sikh articles of faith, including a turban and beard, which represent the Sikh religious commitment to justice, tolerance and equality.
“The White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence,” said Rajdeep Singh, Interim Managing Director of Programs at the Sikh Coalition. “Immigrants and religious minorities are being attacked around the nation, but the Trump administration has not even created a task force to address this issue. Our national leaders must not look the other way while Americans worry about losing loved ones to hate.”
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 related to this case, please contact Media and Communications Director, Mark Reading-Smith.