Will Piara Singh be Counted?
Eighty-two year-old Piara Singh turned to walk home from his gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Fresno as he had done every morning for five years. But this day was different. He never made it home. He was assaulted from behind and brutally beaten with a steel rod, leaving him with multiple lacerations, broken ribs and a punctured lung.
This happened in my hometown this month. I was heartbroken when I heard the news. Piara Singh could have been my grandfather.
While local police are calling the assault of Piara Singh a hate crime, the FBI does not currently keep track of hate crimes specifically against Sikh Americans, as it does for many other religious and racial groups. How will Piara Singh be counted? How can we respond effectively to a problem we aren’t measuring?
Now is our chance to change this for good. The FBI has a meeting scheduled June 5th to decide whether or not to count hate crimes against Sikh Americans. Please sign our petition to make sure they do the right thing.
When you sign this petition, you’re standing with all Sikh Americans who have been targets of hate, including Harpreet Saini, an 18-year-old boy who lost his mother in the mass shooting in Oak Creek, WI last year.
After the murders in Oak Creek, I accompanied Harpreet to Washington, DC, where he became the first Sikh to testify before the Senate in a historic congressional hearing on combating hate in America. Harpreet asked for an end to violence — against all people. He also asked the government to give his mother at least the dignity of being counted.
Because of Harpreet and the many of you who stood in solidarity after Oak Creek, the FBI is meeting June 5-6 to consider whether to add Sikh to the list of categories on Form 1-699, the Hate Crime Incident Report. We are proud to follow the leadership of the Sikh Coalition on this monumental effort. We are also grateful for our partners at the Sikh American Legal Defense Fund (SALDEF) and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
Now we need to make sure the FBI does the right thing. Altogether, we have already sent the FBI more than 4,000 signatures. Will you help us in a final push this week?