Tag Archives: hate crime

Community Calls and Vigils in Response to the Atlanta Tragedy

This information comes from the HANA Center in Chicago. Most events are virtual so one can participate from anywhere.

As we continue to grieve the violent loss of 8 lives in Atlanta, including 6 Asian American women, we would like to share the following list of community calls and vigils over the next few days in response to this tragedy. 

  • Press Conference and Rally to denounce anti-Asian racialized misogyny, held by NAPAWF Chicago Chapter, HANA Center, HEART Women & Girls, Apna Ghar, and KAN-WIN: Click here to watch the recording
  • Immigrant Rights Movement cross-community dialogue, hosted by NAKASEC, the UndocuBlack Network and United We Dream: Friday, March 19th at 7pm CT — Click here to RSVP
  • Solidarity Prayer Vigil with Asian, Black, Latinx, and inter-faith community groups of UCCRO: Saturday, March 20th at 11am CT — Click here to RSVP (*Please note that the time of this event has been changed from 1pm to 11am CT)
  • Virtual Vigil hosted by Asian American Caucus, HANA Center, and other Chicago-area organizations: Saturday, March 20th at 1pm CT — Click here to RSVP
  • Prayer Vigil (held in Korean) hosted by the Chicago Korean Sanctuary Church Network: Sunday, March 21st at 7:00pm CT — To inquire, please email kasanctuarychurch@gmail.com 

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Words fail and tears flow

A prayer poem in the aftermath of the killing of 8 people of whom 7 were were women and 6 were women of Asian descent
Words fail and tears flow.
They squeeze out of the corners of my eyes,
roll down to tangle in the underbrush of beard
until they break free and splatter on the keyboard.
Words fail and tears flow
for Asian and Asian American women
killed in Atlanta; lives violently taken;
your beloved children too soon gone.
Words fail and tears flow
for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers
partners, lovers, children,
family and friend
who bear this unspeakable horror tonight
and who carry this unbearable pain into the future.
Words fail and tears flow
for communities terrorized and intimidated
by this and countless other violent acts of hate.
Words fail and tears flow
tears of grief; tears of rage.
As words fail, tears
become prayers for
those who were killed,
those who bear wounds,
those who mourn,
those who know fear,
those who would honor your image in all your precious people
and who would work for a better world.
In the name of the one whose tears flowed
at the death of a friend and for the people of Jerusalem. Amen.

With thanks to the Rev. Dr. Christine Hong for the reminder to pray for the families of the women who were killed.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Poem, Prayer


EmanuelPosterOn the fourth anniversary of the horrific, terrorist attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist, I had the opportunity to view a new documentary Emanuel.

The event shattered lives and rocked Charleston and the nation. Emanuel powerfully weaves the history of race relations in Charleston, the significance and impact of Mother Emanuel Church, and the hope that somehow emerges in the aftermath.

Featuring intimate interviews with survivors and family members, Emanuel tells a poignant story of justice and faith, love and hate, and examines the healing power of forgiveness.

Emanuel is playing in theaters across the country for two nights – June 17 (tonight) and June 19 (Wednesday). See if it is playing near you and check it out.

Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Daniel Simmons
Sharonda Singleton 
Myra Thompson
Cynthia Hurd
Suzie Jackson
Ethel Lance
DePayne Middleton-Doctor

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Movie, New York

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reaches out to its sisters and brothers of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston

From the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reaches out to its sisters and brothers of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire Wednesday night during Bible study. We grieve with the families of the victims and members of their church community. We hope the perpetrator is soon captured and brought to justice.

The chief of police in Charleston has named this a hate crime. We know of no other name for a crime that forces a five-year-old child to play dead in her church in order to live. Arresting the shooter is the job of law enforcement. Arresting hate is the work we are all called to do as disciples of Jesus Christ. May God never give up on us as we face our own racism and its tragic impact on congregations, their communities, and our very souls.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, God who has brought us thus far on our way, only you know why someone would enter into your house of worship and open fire on your children. Only you know why hate would run so deep that it would cause one of your creations to kill others you have formed. In our confusion over this senseless act, we appeal to you for understanding and courage to continue to fight for justice. We pray right now for the families of those who lost lives at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. on June 17, and ask that you would wrap your loving arms around them and the entire community. Likewise, we pray for an end to the continued racial unrest and violence that permeates the United States and the world, and ask you to guide us to work earnestly for change. Now unto you who is able to keep us from falling, we pray all these things.


Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Linda Valentine
Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Larissa Kwong Abazia
Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Gun Violence, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Simple words

On September, 22, hate struck Dr. Prabjhot Singh, a Sikh and a community activist, in New York City, near Central Park. Dr. Singh sustained a number of injuries in this hate crime attack. His response? Dr. Singh wants to talk to his attackers, to invite them to worship, to make sure they have the opportunity to heal and grow and move past this attack as well.

My colleague Christine Hong wrote a blog which has moved me to seek ways to respond. Today, Simran Jeet Singh, a friend of Dr. Singh, joined Christine and me in a conversation about possible responses.

Here’s a very simple one.

A petition on Groundswell allows people to send messages of support to Dr. Prabjhot Singh. I sent some simple words of support and thanks earlier this evening. I invite you to do so as well.

See you along the Trail.

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Signs on W. 110th call to action

The signs, posted by the NYPD, dot West 110th Street (also known as Central Park North) between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West (also known as Frederick Douglass Boulevard).

They offer a modest reward for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in an attack that took place in that area on September 21. But the signs serve as a larger call to action as well. They call us to address the discrimination and hate that apparently fuel this particular incident and related violence.

The signs include a photo and note that more than one person may have participated in the attack. But they give few other details. Other sources do. The Huffington Post fills in details:

Dr. Prabhjot Singh, who is Sikh and wears a turban and a beard, was attacked at 8:15 p.m. while walking along 110th Street near Lenox Avenue in upper Manhattan. An unknown suspect or suspects shouted anti-Muslim statements, knocked the professor down and punched him numerous times in the face.

The Gothamist provides more information:

Dr. Singh has a Sikh beard and was wearing a turban. He described the attack: “I heard ‘Get Osama’ and then ‘terrorists,’ and then the next thing I felt was someone moving past me, ripping at my beard and then hitting me in the chin.”

Dr. Singh added that he tried to run away but was punched in the face and other parts of his body. Even when he was on the ground, he was punched and kicked. His jaw was fractured, but Dr. Singh credits a passerby for helping him. He said, “There’s no doubt in my mind it was a bias-related event.” The police are investigating the crime.

, a friend and colleague of Dr. Singh notes that the police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

In the aftermath of the August 5, 2012 shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara at Oak Creek, Wisconsin that claimed seven lives, including that of the gunman, Simran Jeet Singh and Dr. Prabhjot Singh wrote an op-ed about hate crimes directed against Sikhs for The New York Times.

They raised two important points about Sikhs and hate crimes.  They note a lack of data about the extent of anti-Sikh hatred:

The F.B.I. currently classifies nearly all hate violence against American Sikhs as instances of anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim hate crimes. As a result, we do not have official statistics on the extent of hate crimes in which Sikhs are targeted, despite a long history of such violence.

They also note that “mistaken identity” factors in many of the attacks on Sikhs. As happened in the case of Dr Singh, Sikhs are targeted as Muslims. A recent study by “researchers at SALDEF (Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and Stanford University found that 70% of Americans misidentify turban-wearers as Muslim (48%), Hindu, Buddhist or Shinto. In fact, almost all men in the U.S. who wear turbans are Sikh Americans, whose faith originated in India.”

The Huffington Post reports an outrage endured by another Sikh, Jagjeet Singh. It did not involve overt physical violence. But it was cruel and demeaning and rooted in prejudice and ignorance:

The ACLU wrote a letter on Wednesday to decry the shocking treatment of Jagjeet Singh, a practicing Sikh, at the hands of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Pike County Justice Court.

Singh was pulled over in January for a flat tire, and was harassed by the state’s Department of Transportation officers who wrongly assumed that his kirpan, a small spiritual sword that is a religious article for Sikhs, was illegal. They taunted him as a “terrorist” and arrested him for refusing to obey “an officer’s lawful command,”reports the ACLU.

On his March 26th court date, Judge Aubrey Rimes of the Pike County Justice Court ejected him from the courtroom stating that Singh would not be allowed to re-enter unless he removed “that rag” from his head.

Singh’s attorney confirmed that Rimes expelled him due to his turban.

Physical attacks. Shootings. Harassment. Discrimination. All based on who a person is or who a person is perceived to be.

Such acts of hate and bigotry have no place in the United States of America. They violate our sisters and brothers most directly. But they also violate our values and in so doing, they violate  who we want to be. 

There are steps we can take as a society and as individuals to address this situation.

As a society, we can urge law enforcement to track violence against our Sikh brothers and sisters. We can further urge law enforcement to enforce existing laws. We can also also hold events to meet one another, learn from one another, and build community.

Each of us will need to decide what steps we will take. I plan to learn more about the Sikh faith and to meet more Sikhs. I have asked my colleague Christine Hong to introduce me to Simran Jeet Singh. I will share what I learn. I will speak out about discrimination and violence against my sisters and brothers. I will work to break the hold of violence on human hearts. I will remain open to see where this journey leads.

The signs along W. 110th Street call us to action. How will you respond?

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, New York

It’s not fluff

It started with a post by my colleague Christine Hong who does interfaith work for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She wrote a profound reflection on how important that work is following a hate crime attack on Dr. Prabjhot Singh in New York. I reprint her post with her permission.

Interfaith work is not fluffy. It is advocacy on the deepest level. The more authentically we engage in conversation and life with our neighbors of different faith traditions the more we become aware that interfaith work saves lives. Interfaith education and service not only bridges communities but it also prevents hate crimes and tackles the felt needs of humankind. The interfaith community works to seek justice, not selectively, but holistically. It is a community holding onto one another in order to thrive and survive in a world that often seems to be quickly unraveling.

This past weekend the PC(USA) brought together 60 Presbyterians along with panels of ecumenical and interfaith guests to think through the writing of an interfaith stance for the church. One of our panelists was Simran Jeet Singh, a doctoral student at Columbia University, a peacemaker, and an advocate for the Sikh community. Singh encouraged Presbyterians to build love into the foundation of our interfaith stance. The love Singh spoke of champions justice and lives courageously and hopefully into the future.

I received an email from Simran yesterday. After he had spent the day offering Presbyterians encouragement and affirmation for our interfaith efforts he came home to find that his friend and colleague at Columbia University, Dr. Prabhjot Singh, had been the victim of a hate crime. On Saturday night Dr. Singh was attacked in Manhattan. His attackers yelled “Get Osama” and “terrorist” as they beat him.

Reading Simran’s note and his Huffington Post blog on the incident broke my heart. It reaffirmed for me that what we are doing is of the utmost importance. Not only because we are working at understanding the dynamics of interfaith engagement as Presbyterians, but because our friends like Simran and Dr. Prabhjot Singh are hurting. Our encouragers, those who challenge us to be bold, dynamic, and cultivate peace are living in a world, our mutual world, where they fear physical harm because of the color of their skin and articles of faith. This should matter to us. It should hurt us because they are hurting.

Interfaith work is advocacy on the deepest level. It is advocacy not only for faith communities at large but also for the people we share our lives with on the daily: our neighbors, friends, and families. In a very real sense interfaith work is also advocacy for ourselves, for our shared world and future. Interfaith work is the accompaniment of faith communities who, like us, want to raise their children in a world where violence is not the way human differences are handled. Interfaith work will break your heart, but if we can move past the fluff and remember that what we do saves lives, it will also start to mend it.

I give thanks for Christine and Simran and Dr. Singh and all who engage in interfaith work. I pray for healing for Dr. Singh. I pray that the hurts endured by my brothers and sisters because of their articles of faith or the color of their skin will hurt me enough that I will find ways to engage more deeply in heart-breaking, heart-mending interfaith work.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights, New York, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)