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'Our Community Not Guiltless', Says Indian-American Group on Recent African-American Killings

People participate in a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near the White House, in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

People participate in a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, near the White House, in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

For far too long, far too many Indian-Americans and South Asian-Americans have been, at best, silent and at worst, complicit, it said in a statement.

Observing that the recent killings of African-Americans in the US have exposed the horrifying reality of anti-blackness in the country, an Indian-American advocacy group has said that many people of Indian- and South Asian-origin have been, at best, silent and at worst, complicit for too long and this must change.

The Indian-American Impact Fund cited the killings of unarmed African-American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25 and 26-year-old African-American woman Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police Department officers on March 13, and said: Let us be clear: our community is not guiltless.

For far too long, far too many Indian-Americans and South Asian-Americans have been, at best, silent and at worst, complicit, it said in a statement on Friday.

The US-based advocacy group, which helps Indian-Americans join politics and run for elected offices, has observed that the recent killings of Floyd, Taylor and others have exposed the horrifying reality of anti-blackness in America.

Many of us are here because of the tireless work of black and civil rights activists to open up immigration to America, and many more of us have benefited from the myth of the model minority'. And yet, we have begged off hard conversations about race and racism with our friends and family, it said. That can and must change, the group said.

And while we have important work to do, there are reasons to be hopeful, it said. Consider Gandhi Mahal, a Minneapolis Indian restaurant owned by Bangladeshi immigrants that offered space to medics and protestors in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, it said.

The New York Times tells us that Ruhel Islam, the owner of the restaurant, prepared daal (lentil), basmati rice and naan (Indian bread) -- comfort food we all know so well -- for protestors. And when his restaurant was burned during the protests, Ruhel said let my building burn. Justice needs to be served'.

And consider Rahul Dubey, a Washington DC businessman, who opened his home in the dead of the night to over 70 peaceful protestors seeking refuge from police deploying tear gas and flashbangs, it said.

Our community knows well the spirit of hospitality and generosity. In Rahul's words, right now I'm going to take joy that 70 people came into my life that are fierce, and that are dedicated I hope they get back out there and stay in touch, the group said.

Asserting that Black Lives Matter', the group said that the community must support and work alongside black communities in the struggle to dismantle systems that perpetuate discrimination, disenfranchisement and racial violence - the kind of hate violence they too have experienced.

We commit to using our platform to spread awareness and educate on issues of racial justice, and continue supporting candidates who share this vision, the group added.

first published:June 06, 2020, 14:42 IST