Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
Dear Supporter Ji,
For those of you who don’t know me already, my name is Dr. Jasmit Singh. I have been blessed to have worked on behalf of the community in our state for almost all of the last two decades. I serve on Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s Multidisciplinary Hate Crime Advisory Working Group here in our great state of Washington, and I am a co-founder of the Sikh Coalition.
I wanted to take a moment to update you on the hate crime in Bellingham that we’ve all been closely following these past several days: the case of the observant Sikh Uber driver who was berated and assaulted by a customer earlier this month.
Last Friday, Sikh Americans and several interfaith leaders turned out to the Whatcom County Superior Court, where the suspect in the attack was formally charged. We are grateful that the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s office charged the attacker with a hate crime, and deeply appreciate the Bellingham Police Department, which recognized the influence of bias in this case from the beginning. I am also especially thankful to the non-Sikh community members who sent messages of support and stood with us in solidarity at the courthouse.
The Uber driver who was attacked shared with me that he was relieved to hear of this step towards justice. As he and his family continue to recover, they ask for your help in remaining anonymous at this time. At their request, however, the Sikh Coalition has been providing the driver with free legal advice--including efforts to ensure that this case is prosecuted as a hate crime. They also rallied gurdwaras across Washington for a sign-on letter to thank the prosecutor, and have worked to raise awareness around the case in the media, with features on local stations like KOMO News and KING5.
We expect to learn more about this case in the weeks to come, and we look forward to providing you an update at that time. Until then, please stay safe--and remember that you can contact the Sikh Coalition for free legal help if you or someone you know experiences bias, bigotry, or backlash.
Dr. Jasmit Singh
P.S. The Sikh Coalition recently updated their ‘Know Your Rights’ resource for taxi and rideshare drivers. Please share this resource with anyone you know who drives passengers for work in order to help prevent assaults like this one.
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