Indian American Congresswomen introduces resolution against racial discrimination


In a move to bring a more inclusive governance an Indian American Congresswoman along with some of her colleagues are bringing forth a resolution that will give the minorities, especially South Asians who are often targeted for various acts of racial discrimination.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal together with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Judy Chu introduced a resolution in the US Congress condemning racial profiling, bias, hate and violence against people of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh descent soon after the 9/11 attacks.

Introduced on Friday, Sept 10, the resolution puts forward a series of recommendations to support those affected by the hateful profiling and targeting that has occurred during the 20 years since the 2001 terrorist attack, according to a media release.

“We must fully condemn all manifestations and expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious bigotry while also finally acknowledging the climate of hate that Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities have experienced in the two decades since September 11, 2001,” said the Congresswomen.

“As we acknowledge that our own government implemented harmful policies that unfairly profiled and targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities, we must also celebrate that these very communities have met these challenges with unwavering courage, strength, compassion, and resilience while uniting in the aftermath to advocate for civil and human rights — work which continues to this day to benefit all Americans.”

The resolution acknowledged that a week after the 9/11 attacks, community organisations reported 645 incidents of bias and hate against these communities at workplaces, schools, residential spaces, and even places of worship.

The resolution mentioned excess scrutiny, suspicion, and heightened discrimination even by public officials against people from these communities.

Policy implementations from the federal and state governments too have been based on xenophobia and stereotyping.

The horrors of the 11 September attacks led to discriminatory behaviour against Americans and non-Americans belonging to South Asian and Arab communities. Many have been wrongly detained, questioned and talked about by American people and policy implementers.

The resolution mentioned that the National Security Entry-Exit Registration Systems of 2002 and 2003, required men and boys from 25 Muslim countries to register at local immigration offices with biometrics. This caused rounding up and questioning of these men and boys by the FBI, which never led to any terrorist conviction.

The proposed steps include:

Creating an interagency task force to work with community-based organizations to review these government policies, investigate and document their impact, and dismantle those policies which continue to profile and unfairly target these communities.

Holding hearings by congressional and civil rights bodies to explore the findings and recommendations of this interagency task force in consultation with and centering community-based organizations.

Allocating resources to community-based organizations outside and independent of law enforcement that center the experiences and demands of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities to support the needs of victims of hate and state violence, including language support, mental health, comprehensive support, system navigation, and crisis response and recovery.

Calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation to work together to study the impact of hate, government targeting, and profiling on physical and mental health.