INDIANAPOLIS, JAN 17 : Sikhs Political Action Committee chairman Gurinder Singh Khalsa has endorsed passage of a comprehensive hate crime law for Indiana in 2018. SikhsPAC is the part of the coalition and fully supported organizations and fellow Hoosiers to host a Hate Crime Law Statehouse Rally Press Conference.
At the rally held today at the Indiana Statehouse, Khalsa stated: “On behalf of SikhsPAC and the thriving community we represent, I most strongly endorse passing the proposed hate crimes legislation and encourage the state legislature to take action immediately. This legislation will cover all the aspects of economic opportunities; safety & security and dignity & respect of every Hoosier.”
The slogan of Indiana is “the state that works”, then it should work for everyone. “Our Governor Holcomb’ agenda is “Next Level Indiana” and we cannot achieve that being only one of the five states having no Hate Crime Law in place.”
Mr Khalsa, who originally hails from Kurukshetra (Haryana) acknowledged that, while laws currently exist to punish people for violent acts, more needs to be done to strengthen our position on these issues in today’s world. “In the real world, we’re competing – on an economic level and on a personal level – with 45 states that currently protect people from hate crimes,” Khalsa said. “If we want to be competitive in our national economy and the jobs market, we can’t be one of a very few states that isn’t being proactive on this issue.
“This legislation is for the greater good,” he added. “It shows the values that we hold dear – and provides companies who are looking at relocating to our great state with one more reason to build here and hire here. If this legislation encourages one large corporation to locate in Indiana … if this legislation deters one hate-filled individual from committing an act of violence … then its passage will have been worth it.”
The Sikh community in Indiana is large and growing every day. More than 10,000 Sikhs live in Indiana and more than 3,500 businesses are owned or operated by Sikhs in our state.
The Central Indiana Alliance Against Hate (CIAAH) joined with supporting organizations and fellow Hoosiers to host the Hate Crime Law Statehouse Rally Press Conference.
The rally raiseed needed attention and kick off grassroots advocacy in support of SB 418 and SB 271, this session’s two proposed hate crime bills. With the FBI indicating an increasing number of hate crimes in Indiana, and across the country, Indiana still remains one of only five states without a comprehensive hate crime statute.
“We’re looking forward to coming together with Hoosiers from around the state to urge lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill this session,” stated David Sklar of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council. “We believe this is the year where Indiana can finally remove itself from the extremely small list of states that do not have a hate crimes law, and the wind is at our back. More and more legislators from both sides of the aisle agree that it’s time, and multiple state-wide opinion polls taken before the session show that Hoosiers overwhelmingly agree. We also believe that with more attention being paid to horrific hate motivated incidents like Charlottesville over the last year, this is a debate we must win,” he continued.
Representatives of several supporting organizations who spoke included Indiana Association of the Deaf, Indiana Statewide Independent Living Council (INSILC), Indiana Youth Group, Indy Chamber, Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council and the organized Jewish Community, Indianapolis Urban League/Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Members of the Greater Indianapolis Hindu community, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, SikhsPAC and Women4Change Indiana.