In the aftermath of the recent deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, the President’s moral equivocations in renouncing white supremacists, and the frightening resurgence of hate crimes in the past year (i), it has become clear that white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and others motivated by bigotry have been emboldened to act upon their hate in our communities. SAAPRI extends our sincere condolences to the victims at Charlottesville, their families, and communities that have been shaken by this recent tragedy. In this crucial moment, SAAPRI strongly reiterates the need to renounce and combat racism and bigotry and stands in solidarity with other groups who have been targeted with hate and violence. SAAPRI believes that people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and identities have a place in this country, and their right to exist and be welcomed must be protected. There is no room for racial hatred, violence, or extremism.
Throughout its history, SAAPRI has been deeply involved in combating hate crimes, and it will continue this work as a central part of its mission to advance policy in response to the South Asian and broader community’s needs. Our past work includes developing and helping pass anti-hate resolutions in the Illinois House and Chicago City Council as well as successfully advocating to the FBI to track hate crimes against Hindus, Sikhs, and Arabs. The most recent rise in hate crimes makes this work even more important. According to FBI statistics, Chicago experienced a 20 percent increase in reported hate crimes in 2016, with preliminary evidence that this rise is continuing in 2017 (ii). Moving forward, SAAPRI will continue working in cross-racial and interfaith coalitions to identify and combat hate in our communities.
i. “Hate Crimes Rise in Major American Localities in 2016” (Levin, 2017)
ii. Levin, 2017