Protest condemns racist attacks on Indians, Sikhs
Rita Meher of Tasveer, one of the South Asian groups that helped organize the event, welcomed everyone, explaining the gathering was put together to oppose attacks on South Asians and other immigrants.
Kuchibhotla was killed in a bar in Kansas by an assailant who yelled he should go back where he came from. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, was shot but survived the attack.
A number of people at the rally knew Madasani, who previously lived in the Seattle area. Some had been co-workers and others had played cricket with him.
Deep Rai was shot in the arm while working on his car in his driveway. The shooter, a Caucasian man with a mask over the lower part of his face, told Rai “go back to your own country.”
And on March 2, Harnish Patel, a small business owner originally from India, was shot and killed in South Carolina.
Speakers represented a number of South Asian organizations; the mayor and police chief of Bellevue; Democratic Party politicians, including 7th Congressional District Democratic Party Rep. Pramila Jayapal; Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Seattle; Kshama Sawant, a Socialist Alternative member and city councilwoman in Seattle; and members of various religious groups.
A number of speakers argued that President Donald Trump was responsible for the attacks. “The Trump administration has fostered a climate of fear and hatred,” Sawant told the crowd. Kings County Executive Dow Constantine, a Democrat, said the attacks were the product of the “atmosphere” created by Trump.
“We think it is important to remember the names of those attacked and killed,” SWP mayoral candidate Martin told the rally, pointing to her sign that listed the four names of Indian immigrants attacked over the last week. “The Socialist Workers Party demands the perpetrators of these attacks be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. We call on all working people and the labor movement to protest these assaults, to speak out against scapegoating of immigrant workers living here and to oppose the recent attacks and threats directed at Jews and Muslims.
“All of these acts are attempts to divide the working class,” said Martin. “To address these divisions we call for amnesty for all immigrants living in this country, no matter where you came from or how you got here. We demand an end to the raids and deportations. We say, an injury to one is an injury to all!”
“The problem isn’t Trump,” said Martin in discussions after the rally, “it’s the capitalist system. From Clinton to Bush, Obama to Trump, the propertied rulers turn immigration on and off as they need cheap labor. They use undocumented labor to divide the working class, to drive down wages for all.
“But the rulers have found they have a problem,” she continued. “They wanted workers, but they got people. And those people are demanding their rights. Their fight is in the interest of all workers.”
Letter to Stroum Jewish Community Center
On Feb. 27, the Stroum Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington, received a bomb threat, one of dozens of anti-Semitic threats and attacks over the last couple of months across the country. The following letter of solidarity was hand-delivered the next day to Dana Weiner, the center’s director of community connections, by Mary Martin, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Seattle. Martin met Weiner and they discussed the fight against Jew-hatred.
On behalf of the Socialist Workers Party in Washington state, I am writing to add our voice in protest against the Feb. 27 bomb threat against the center. We condemn this action in the strongest possible way and demand that the perpetrators be arrested, prosecuted and jailed.
We further call on all working people and the unions to speak out against this and all acts of Jew-hatred taking place across the country, including the vandalism of cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis. We urge defense of anyone scapegoated and victimized — including Muslims and immigrants living in this country — in an effort to divide and weaken the working class. An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!
Please do not hesitate to call on the Socialist Workers Party if you hold any public meetings concerning this attack or for any assistance you may need.
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