In Response To Seattle Shooting, Sikh Coalition Calls To #LoveMyNeighbor

In Kansas last month, the hateful words shouted toward two Indian men who were shot were, “Get out of my country.” On Friday, the words said to a Sikh man in Seattle, also shot, were more of the same: “Go back to your country.”

The Sikh Coalition, the largest such civil rights organization in the country, urged people in a public letter Monday to resist xenophobia and join its #LoveMyNeighbor campaign on social media, which encourages sharing a message of support for Muslim and Jewish Americans.

It has teamed up with Auburn Seminary for the campaign, to show all communities that “we are strongest as a nation when we stand together.”

The Seattle man who was shot, Deep Rai, a 39-year-old U.S. citizen, was brought to a hospital and is currently in recovery, according to Sushma Swaraj, India’s external affairs minister who reportedly spoke to Rai’s father.

The incident — being investigated as a possible hate crime, as the gunman continues to evade police — happened just outside Rai’s home, on his driveway.

The Seattle Times reported that Rai was working on his car when the unknown assailant approached him, told him to go back to his own country, and shot him in the arm. Rai told authorities that the assailant was a white man.

The Coalition on Sunday called for “national accountability” following the incident.

“We are all accountable for what happened in Kent, Washington, on Friday night,” Jasmit Singh, the organization’s Seattle-area community leader, said in a statement. “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 White House needs to show leadership in preventing hate violence,” said another Coalition leader, Rajdeep Singh. He is interim managing director of programs. “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.”

In Kansas, one of the men shot, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, died. The others — Alok Madasani, 32, as well as Ian Grillot, 24, who jumped in to help — were injured. A 51-year-old white man, Adam Purinton, was arrested.

An affidavit, according to the Kansas City Star, revealed that Madasani told police that Purinton asked whether his “status was legal.” Purinton is currently held in a county jail on a $2 million bond.

“Our [communities] have experienced ongoing threats of violence on our streets and in their places of worship,” the #LoveMyNeighbor campaign writes. “This is not acceptable. … Let us remember that in the context of incredible dehumanization, recognizing the humanity of one another is a powerful act of resistance. Affirming the dignity of the marginalized helps empower those who are being targeted, honors the diversity of our nation, and strengthens our own local communities.”