Victory! On Wednesday, June 5th, an FBI advisory policy board voted to track hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans. We did this together!
Read more: http://www.groundswell-movement.org/victory-fbi-to-track-hate-crimes-against-sikh-hindu-arab-americans/
We are proud to follow the leadership of the Sikh Coalition on this important effort. As a result of their advocacy, Congressman Joe Crowley, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Dick Durbin, more than 100 bipartisan members of Congress and Attorney General Eric Holder publicly endorsed the request. Thank you also to all our partner organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). We are especially grateful to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) for first championing this issue with the FBI in 2010. They are among many tireless advocates who worked for years to make this day possible.
As people of diverse faith and moral traditions, we urge the FBI to adjust its policies in order to track hate crimes specifically against Sikh Americans, just as it does for other religious minorities. This is not only good public policy; it’s also a moral imperative.
Why is this important?
The FBI currently doesn't track hate crimes against Sikhs, as it does for many other groups. The Sikh identity of the 6 Sikh Americans killed in Oak Creek will not appear as a statistic in the FBI’s reports. How can we effectively respond to a problem we're not measuring? This is our chance to advocate for real policy changes to combat hate in America.
The FBI is finally meeting June 5th to decide whether or not to track hate crimes against Sikh Americans. To make sure they do the right thing, they need to hear from us.
The alternative? After Oak Creek, I met with the local Police Chief Edwards, who showed me the FBI Hate Crime Incident Report sitting on his desk, still blank. "There is no box for me to record the 6 homicides at the Sikh gurdwara," he said. "How can we combat a problem we're not measuring?"
Because of our action together in the wake of Oak Creek, and the work of our partners all over the country, the Justice Department promised to explore whether the FBI should track anti-Sikh hate crimes in mid-October.
This is living proof: when we the people find bold new ways to call for love and respect, not just in the halls of power but in our schools, houses of worship, and communities, we can be heard. And when our government responds, we can build an America fully committed to civil liberties.
Because I dream of a day when we see a turbaned Sikh on the street and think – not "foreigner" or "terrorist" but "American." That will be the day that all people, in all our diversity, are truly embraced in America.
We long for that day. We fight for that day. And I believe working together in the Sikh spirit of Chardi Kala, everlasting hope and optimism, we will see that day.
*We are proud to work with the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh American Legal Defense Fund on this important effort.*
How it will be delivered
We mailed the petition to Attorney General Eric Holder before the FBI meeting June 5th, 2013.