Indian American organisations raise red flag over Texas racist attack

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The recent news of four Indian-origin women being harassed and abused with racial slurs in Plano, Texas, has sent shock waves through the Indian American community. Several Indian American organisations have reacted against the incident which was captured in a viral video of the encounter of four friends facing a tirade in a suburban parking lot, following their quiet dinner meet-up.
Arun Agarwal, president and co-founder of the Indian American CEO (IACEO) Council, a Dallas, Texas, based organisation that facilitates alliances between India and the US; told Times of India that the Indian American community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where Plano is a principal city, is strong and will continue to grow stronger. “IACEO Council’s mission is to elevate our community. Our recent studies show the significant contribution of the Indian American community in the economic development of this north Texas region. The women who were attacked are all very accomplished and do a lot to give back to the communities they live and work in. Neither them nor anyone else deserves to be humiliated in this manner,” Agarwal said. He praised the quick action of law enforcement and the efforts by the community at large to rally behind the victims of the attacks.
Significantly, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson had formed an anti-hate advisory council last year in light of statistics that show a rising number of hate crimes in Dallas and across the US.
“The new advisory council discusses ways to make the city and the Dallas Police department better equipped to both respond and prevent hate crimes. We hope more cities can replicate this,” Agarwal said.
Sanjeev Joshipura, executive director of Indiaspora, a non-profit organisation of global Indian origin leaders providing a platform for community engagement, said: “We at Indiaspora are committed to ensuring that our community is proactive in responding with concerted action against perpetrators of wanton aggression.” The organisation strongly condemned the racial attack and reiterated its commitment to fight discrimination and prejudice in all its forms.
“We stand together as the Indian American community as we grapple with this and the other recently recorded hostile incident in Fremont, California, where there was a virulent attack of a customer in a Taco Bell. The fact that these episodes have happened in two entirely different communities raises red flags about patterns of aggression against Indian Americans,” Joshipura said in a press statement.
“As we monitor the process of justice which is underway in Texas, we see this as an occasion for our community to send a strong message of solidarity. We stand with members of any community who have faced these attacks of hate crime or hate speech so that no one has to feel alone in facing such trauma. We want the authorities and society to know that these individual hate crimes affect larger communities and should be treated with urgency,” Joshipura said.
Highlighting the contributions of Indian Americans as immigrants to the US; the Indiaspora leadership warned that the accolades received by the community felt less gratifying in the face of such episodes. “As most of us acknowledge, systemic racism stands against the values of this great nation. We ask our community to be vigilant and stand up to any form of intimidation and aggression. These acts should be reported to authorities and community leaders to ensure that no abuser walks away with impunity,” Joshipura said in the statement.
Neil Makhija, executive director of Indian American Impact, an organisation that represents the voices of Indian Americans and South Asians at every level of government in the US, also reacted to the racially-motivated physical and verbal assault of the four Indian American women in Plano and expressed shock over “yet another attack in a string of deplorable anti-Asian hate crimes that have taken place over the past two years”.
“Esmeralda Upton’s dangerous and violent sentiments towards the South Asian community should not be taken lightly. For legal purposes, we are lucky that the racist tirade was caught on camera, but her shameless display of hate towards members of our community is alarming and, unfortunately, not uncommon,” Makhija said in a statement.
“We are so thankful that the four victims of the attack were not severely physically harmed, but it’s imperative we begin to address the psychological effects of consistent attacks on minority communities. The state of Texas needs more than just a reactive approach to overt racism.
Leadership should prioritise expanding multicultural education and implementing safety protocols in order to ensure the welfare of vulnerable people of colour, immigrants and women.”
Makhija added that while substantial progress had been made in the advancement of South Asian leadership in Texas, disturbing events like the recent one distracted from the work of the community and endangered citizens. “We thank the Plano Police Department for properly investigating the incident as a hate crime, but we also demand bold action moving forward to avoid history from repeating itself once again,” he said.



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Date: August 27, 2022