Sikh Coalition Joins NY Governor Hochul’s Anti-Hate Crime Rally, Calls for Additional Action to Protect Our Communities
April 13, 2022 (Queens, NY) — Today, the Sikh Coalition joined New York Governor Kathy Hochul and local Queens Sikh community leaders at an anti-hate crime rally in Queens to address the continued rise in hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in New York City.
This gathering comes on the heels of multiple recent and high profile attacks that have targeted Sikhs in New York City: the April 3 assault of Mr. Nirmal Singh, a 70-year-old Sikh man visiting the city from India, and the April 12 attacks on two additional turbaned Sikh men. All of these attacks took place in the same immediate area of the Richmond Hill neighborhood in Queens.
“Sikhs are no strangers to hate violence, but the recent string of repeated attacks in the same location is especially disheartening and reprehensible,” said Nikki Singh, Sikh Coalition Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy. “We continue to stand with all communities who continue to experience this kind of trauma. Targeted hate violence affects us all–not just those who experience it firsthand.”
The Sikh Coalition continues to work with the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force, the governor’s office, and other local, state, and federal officials across the country in our efforts to combat and prevent hate crimes. Before these attacks, law enforcement in New York–a state with one of the largest Sikh populations across the United States–had recorded zero anti-Sikh bias incidents in the past decade, despite significant evidence to the contrary.
“More must be done to help protect targeted communities from acts of hate in our streets, houses of worship, and classrooms,” continued Singh. “First and foremost, law enforcement has to remain committed to accurately naming, tracking, and investigating hate crimes, as they have done with these recent Richmond Hill incidents. This level of responsiveness should be the standard–not the exception.”
In addition to our efforts to hold law enforcement more accountable, the Sikh Coalition continues to advocate for a multi-pronged approach to countering hate in society. These efforts should include the effective local implementation of federal hate crime laws; more accessible and plentiful resources for securing our houses of worship; ensuring that the Sikhs are represented in task forces, roundtables, and gatherings like today’s event; creating safer classrooms that teach students about diverse faith backgrounds and reduce bullying rates; and providing accommodations and proactive policies to prohibit discrimination against Sikhs in their workplaces.
Finally, the Sikh Coalition was also proud to welcome several Queens area Sikh community leaders, including Jaslin Kaur, Sukhjinder Singh Nijjar, and Japneet Singh, as guests with the Sikh Coalition to the event. We thank these individuals and countless others among the sangat (community) who have been relentless in providing support to those recently hurt by hate and pursuing justice in their cases.