Today I gave to the Southern Poverty Law Center in honor of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed in a hate crime last week. His friend Alok Madasani was shot and injured, and spoke about his best friend at his funeral, saying
“What happened was a senseless crime and that took away my best friend.” Kuchibhotla picked Madasani up at his apartment every workday for six months to take him to work. “Not even a single time did he express that this is getting tough,” Madasani said. “He waited till I bought a car. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
Kuchibhotl’s GoFundMe page, (which stopped accepting donations) said of him,
“Srini was the kindest person you would meet, full of love, care and compassion for everyone. He never uttered a word of hatred, a simple gossip, or a careless comment. He was brilliant...simply an outstanding human being.” He left behind a wife.
Donald Trump’s hate speech led to this act. Words matter, and they have real consequences.
And yet while Trump is quick to demonize (e.g., implying every Muslim is a terrorist), it took the White House nearly a full week to even acknowledge this event. It was white terrorism (the most common form in the USA), plain and simple. UPDATE: Last night Trump made it part of his address to Congress, proving that this is a president who doesn't know how to feel until someone tells him he needs to have an emotional response.
Throughout his campaign, and now into his presidency, Trump has simplified and demonized entire groups of people. He’s taken issue with Muslims, Somalians, Syrians, Hispanics, (basically any immigrants) and even handicapped people.
The shooter admitted to shooting two "Iranians" and told them to “get out of his country” before he shot them. They were from India, and had been in the U.S. for many years, starting families and contributing to our economy. But, this man saw brown people, (whose religion if anything was either Hindu or Christian), and he stereotyped, just like our president taught him.
Trump’s words have stirred up hate incidents around the country (Propublica is tracking them), from the toppling of Jewish gravestones, to bomb threats, assault, vandalism and graffiti on college campuses, and more.
It's crazy, but our country is full of this kind of intolerance: The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 917 active hate groups in the United States in 2016.
With our help and small acts of good, day by day, America can and will change for the better.
The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy.