was named for two victims of high-profile murders who were excluded from previous hate crime statistics due to poor data collection and reporting practices by law enforcement. This legislation would require the federal government to address underreporting and related issues by vastly improving hate crime reporting with funding for resources at the state level, including critical training for law enforcement and the establishment of hate crime reporting hotlines.
Just as Heather Heyer and Khalid Jabara’s heinous hate crimes went uncatalogued, the Sikh American community experiences similar lapses. In 2017, a gunman in Nevada fired over 12 rounds
into a van carrying five Sikh men and wounding one. The gunman was convicted on four counts with a hate crime enhancement and sentenced to 34 years in prison; nonetheless, the incident did not appear in the FBI’s 2017 report.
Despite the imperfections in the data, the Sikh Coalition is thankful that after four years of our relentless advocacy
, the FBI began tracking hate incidents targeting the Sikh American community in 2015. We will continue pushing the federal government to improve hate crime prevention, response, and reporting, as well as urging state legislatures to adopt more robust laws of their own – just as the Pennsylvania General Assembly is currently doing. Already, the Sikh Coalition has helped seven of Pennsylvania's eight gurdwaras sign onto a letter of support for new, bipartisan hate crime legislation designed to improve the commonwealth’s response to hate-based violence.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.