Washington D.C. (April 28, 2011) – Along with thousands of other Americans of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund is demanding that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer veto HB 2230, an Arizona bill that would remove the memorial of a 9/11 hate crime murder victim from the state’s 9/11 memorial and subsequently sell the memorial plaque as ‘scrap metal.’
Since Tuesday alone, over 4500 letters from around the country have been sent directly to Governor Brewer demanding that she veto HB 2230. SALDEF is encouraging Americans to continue to contact Governor Brewer and urge her to veto before the bill would automatically become law in the state of Arizona on Monday, May 2.
On September 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American gas station owner, was the first hate-crime related murder fatality in the wave of post-9/11 backlash. He was murdered outside of his Chevron gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who wanted to ‘kill a Muslim’ in retaliation for the terrorist attacks. He selected Mr. Sodhi simply because he had a beard and wore a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith.
The Arizona law (HB 2230) would remove Mr. Sodhi’s name from the 9/11 memorial, because the bill’s sponsor, Republican representative John Kavanaugh ridiculously claimed that Mr. Sodhi “was not a 9/11 victim” based on a simple Google search.
According to SALDEF associate executive director Jasjit Singh: “Hundreds of thousands of Sikh-Americans are puzzled and outraged at the disrespect shown by the Arizona state legislature towards Balbir Singh Sodhi’s memory, family, and the Sikh American community in general. This effort by Arizona Republicans to deny that Mr. Sodhi’s hate-crime murder as a consequence of 9/11 is completely unfounded, unacceptable, and offensive.
We kindly implore Governor Jan Brewer to take action against letting Arizona rewrite history and trivialize the first documented hate crime murder in the wake of 9/11.”
SALDEF is encouraging Americans to continue to voice their outrage before the Monday, May 2 deadline, when the bill would become law in Arizona. www.saldef.org