LOS ANGELES (April 14, 2014) — Asian American Advancing Justice – Los Angeles offers our heartfelt condolences to those who were injured and the surviving family members of those were killed in the shootings at two Jewish community facilities in Overland Park, KS this past weekend. As an organization committed to racial and social justice, we are saddened and angered by the killings, which appear to have been at the hands of an avowed white supremacist.
Unfortunately, this weekend’s shootings evoked memories of another similar hate-motivated shooting spree in August of 1999, when another white supremacist first shot five people at a Los Angeles-area Jewish community center before killing Filipino American postal worker Joseph Ileto. The shootings this weekend remind us of the need to continually build and strengthen cross-cultural relationships in our diverse society.
Yesterday, two Jewish facilities were targeted by a gunman in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas.
The shooting, which came on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, claimed three lives and is believed to be a hate crime carried out by a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), released the following statement in reaction to this tragic event:
“I am shocked and saddened by the senseless violence that claimed three lives this weekend in Kansas. My heartfelt thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and everyone affected by this tragedy.
“Our children and senior citizens are among society’s most vulnerable members, and to see them targeted for their religious faith is especially appalling. Such hatred has no place in a nation that values justice and religious freedom.
“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, I join every American in rejecting bigotry and hate. We all have the right to worship freely and to feel safe in our communities regardless of our race or religious background. It is my sincere hope that we come together as a nation to fight intolerance in our society and prevent incidents like this from happening again.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.