LOS ANGELES (Dec. 22, 2015) — During this time of heightened intolerance and hate incidents, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA), along with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and ACLU of Southern California, stand together in support of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities.
Since the tragic December 2, 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, public officials and political candidates have engaged in increasingly intolerant rhetoric against Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. These comments irresponsibly equate AMEMSA communities with terrorism—condoning racial and religious bias resulting in dangerous fear mongering. The harmful effects of these statements have been immediate and extremely damaging: since the shooting, there have been over 20 reported incidents of hate against Muslims in Los Angeles alone.
Some political candidates have gone as far to suggest that they do not know whether or not they would have opposed the mass incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry into concentration camps during World War II.
“We must not permit Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities to be scapegoated, and we must remain steadfast in our American values by rejecting racial and religious profiling,” says Betty Hung, Policy Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.
As the FBI has confirmed, the only credible information about the San Bernardino shooting at this time is that the shooting was an isolated incident, unconnected to any larger terrorist movement. There continue to be many unanswered questions regarding the motivations behind the San Bernardino shooting. As the investigation continues, L.A. Based Civil Rights Groups will offer free legal services to help affected communities know their rights with respect to unwanted and unwarranted law enforcement targeting and surveillance.
For immediate assistance, community members can contact:
Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA): (888) 349-9695
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): (714) 776-1177
ACLU of Southern California: (213) 977-5236
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Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.