One Year After Hate Crime

February 3, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: SikhNet

I remember the words of King County Superior Court Judge Monica J. Benton while delivering judgment, said Vázquez should be given leniency in the same way that Singh has given forgiveness, adding that the attack only reiterated that the community needs to "talk about and address our racial differences. When one drinks, as you did, Mr. Vázquez , those deep-seated fears arise and those prejudices surface," she said. "It is unfortunate, truly, that you do not recall this event, because he will never forget it." The recent FBI report “Hate Crime in Washington State on the increase” is a real eye opener. Are we doing anything? Are we delivering the right message?

I went to see Sukhvir Singh who suffered hate crime almost one year back. On the night of November 24, 2007 after police directed a drunken Mr. Vázquez to be driven home in Sukhvir's cab. Mr. Vázquez called Sukhvir an "Iraqi terrorist" and threatened to kill him. As his anger escalated, he attacked Sukhvir from the back seat, putting him in a chokehold, knocking off his turban, biting into his head, and pulling out clumps of his hair. Sukhvir Singh became the innocent victim to vent anger and frustration and hate that Luis Vázquez was hovering because of alcohol and having been turned away from Apple Cup at the Husky Stadium. This lead to numerous calls to 911 center from others using the freeway. Everyone was impressed by the calm of Sukhvir Singh who barely escaped death and brought the taxi to a stop at the busy time of traffic. The attack led to traffic being held up on Interstate 5 highway until the police intervened. Singh, who pulled to the side of the freeway, told police that he had been afraid for his life and that of others on the road.

“We should educate the community about our religion right from School level. It has to be done quickly. It is very hard to remove hatred from an individual. Sukhvir Singh does not think even the Sikh community has done much to educate in the wake of hate crime. We need to open our doors of Gurudwara Sahib and invite more people in. Our Gurus have taught us to love everyone. We need to spread that love among the community. The educated people should come forward to convey the message of equality and brotherhood. Everyone is equal. We are all children of the same God. The laws in the U.S.A. are good. That is the main reason that we are all here.” Sukhvir Singh says even today he fears he can be a victim of hate crime.