2015 Asian America in Review: Top 10 AANHPI Stories You Might Have Missed

Sherry Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, two Chinese American researchers who faced espionage investigations this year before all charges were dropped. Many within the AANHPI community believe they are one of several victims of a policy of anti-Asian racial profiling currently being pursued by the State Department. (Photo credit: Saul Loeb, AFP, Getty)
Sherry Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, two Chinese American researchers who faced espionage investigations this year before all charges were dropped. Many within the AANHPI community believe they are one of several victims of a policy of anti-Asian racial profiling currently being pursued by the State Department. (Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

As the year winds down to a close, these are the top ten political stories that had a major impact on the AANHPI community highlighting the many political issues that have defined the AANHPI community this year. Sadly, many didn’t receive much mainstream media coverage.

How many of these stories were you following this year?

Continue reading “2015 Asian America in Review: Top 10 AANHPI Stories You Might Have Missed”

Sikhtoons Responds to Recent Hate Crimes Targeting Indian and Sikh Americans

Copyright: V. Singh / Sikhtoons
Copyright: V. Singh / Sikhtoons

Vishavjit Singh, creator of Sikhtoons, has created a cartoon expression of our collective outrage with regard to the recent apparently hate-motivated assaults of Sikh and Indian American men. The cartoon above references the September 8th, 2015 attack on 53-year-old Inderjit Singh Mukker by a teenager who allegedly called Mukker “terrorist” and “bin Laden” before repeatedly punching the older man in the face; Mukker was hospitalized with a fractured cheek, and multiple lacerations and contusions. Police originally investigated the assault as a hate crime. On Friday, the DuPage County state’s attorney announced that the incident was mere road rage, and that they were declining to prosecute the teenaged suspect for a hate crime.

This morning, the state’s attorney reversed that decision and added one count of committing a hate crime, citing “new evidence” in the change of heart.

Singh also produced a second cartoon this week, referencing the recent mistrial declared in the federal civil rights case against Alabama police officer Eric Parker.

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Hate Crimes Charges Will Be Filed Against Suspect in Beating of Sikh American Man

Inderjit Sing Mukker from his hospital bed, displaying his injuries from the alleged hate crime. (Photo credit: Sikh Coalition)
Inderjit Singh Mukker from his hospital bed, displaying his injuries from the alleged hate crime. (Photo credit: Sikh Coalition)

Less than a week after the DuPage County’s State’s Attorney’s Office announced that the 17-year-old suspect in the brutal beating of Sikh American Innderjit Singh Mukker on September 8th would not face hate crimes charges, the Office issued a statement this morning amending their earlier position. The Office told press that they will amend the charges against the suspect to include one count of the commission of a hate crime, a Class 4 felony. The unnamed suspect is scheduled to appear in juvenile court to face the hate crime charge, added to the existing charge of felony aggravated battery.

The Sikh Coalition — which had created a petition and had planned a rally for later today protesting the State’s Attorney’s Office’s original decision — praised the change of heart. According to the Chicago Tribune:

“We are thankful that Robert Berlin and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office have filed a hate crime charge in this case,” the Sikh Coalition’s legal director, Harsimran Kaur, wrote in an email. “For the Sikh American community, a formal hate crime charge was never about a harsher penalty, but instead prosecuting the crime for what it was. We can’t combat the problem of hatred against minority communities in America unless our elected officials and government agencies acknowledge that the problem exists.”

The Sikh Coalition’s petition had already gathered over 12,000 signatures as of this morning.

This is an incredible victory earned entirely through grassroots advocacy. However, there is much more we can and must still do for Mukker, and for the many other Muslim, Indian and Sikh American victims of hate crimes committed in the wake of September 11, 2001. For Mukker, the Sikh Coalition urges us to continue the following actions:

  • Send Mr. Mukker Thoughts and Prayers: As Mr. Mukker recovers, the Sikh Coalition invites supporters around the world to express solidarity by clicking here to send a message. Alternatively, you can mail a card to the Sikh Coalition’s office at Inderjit Singh Mukker c/o The Sikh Coalition, 50 Broad Street, Suite 1537, New York, NY 10004.
  • Contact Your Congressional Representative: Send an email to your congressional representative to request that they co-sponsor H-Res. 413, a resolution honoring the victims of post-9/11 hate crimes, including Sikh Americans.
  • Sikh Awareness: This is a critical time for everyone (Sikhs and non-Sikhs) to raise awareness and appreciation about the Sikh American community. Host and/or conduct a Sikh awareness presentation in your school, place of employment, library, police station, town hall, etc. For community and Sikh awareness resources, please click here.
  • Learn More About Hate Crimes Law: Click here to read our FAQs on Hate Crimes and Hate Speech. Please contact the Sikh Coalition atlegal@sikhcoalition.org if you would like more information on how to raise awareness on hate crimes and hate crimes law with your sangat.

We must also continue to urge our political representatives to support comprehensive hate crimes legislation in all 50 states — currently five states (Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Wyoming) lack any sort of laws that criminalize bias-motivated violence. Of the remaining states, not all have hate crime laws that encompass violence motivated by bias against sexual orientation, age, gender or disability.

No Hate Crime Charges After Sikh American Man Beaten Days Before Anniversary of 9/11

Inderjit Sing Mukker from his hospital bed, displaying his injuries from the alleged hate crime. (Photo credit: Sikh Coalition)
Inderjit Singh Mukker from his hospital bed, displaying his injuries from the alleged hate crime. (Photo credit: Sikh Coalition)

A mere three days before the 14th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, the Sikh Coalition reports that 53-year-old Inderjit Singh Mukker —  a Sikh American taxi driver and father of twowas brutally beaten while called “terrorist”, “bin Laden“, and told to “go back to your country”. Mukker is a US citizen who lives in Darien, a predominantly White suburb of Chicago.

Mukker was driving to the grocery store in the evening of September 8th when the driver of another vehicle allegedly began shouting the slurs to Mukker. When Mukker pulled over to allow the other car to pass him, the other motorist then allegedly stopped his vehicle in front of Mukker, got out and approached Mukker’s car window. He then allegedly reached into the car and repeatedly punched Mukker in the face until the elderly man lost consciousness.

After his attacker fled the scene, Mukker was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for a cheekbone fracture, multiple lacerations and contusions. He ultimately received six stitches. He has now been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.

Police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and have reportedly identified a 17-year-old suspect based on Mukker’s description of his assailant and his recollection of the attacker’s license plate. Police have questioned that suspect — who was hospitalized shortly after the crime for an undisclosed reason — and police intend to file charges when he is discharged.

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