On September 12, 2012, CAIR-Chicago staff members and interns attended the City of Chicago City Council meeting where Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th ward introduced a resolution condemning attacks of violence and hate against minorities including Sikh American and Muslim American communities, and initiating measures to promote tolerance. The invocation was given by Mr. Lakhwant Singh Komal, a local Sikh American religious leader. Alderman Joe Moore of the 49th ward, and Alderman Debra Silverstein were co-sponsors of the resolution.
The resolution was approved unanimously.
CAIR-Chicago staff attorney Rabya Khan worked with Ami Gandhi, Executive Director of the South Asian South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), and Alderman Pawar on the resolution. “We commend Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Aldermen Pawar, Moore and Silverstein and SAAPRI for taking leadership on combating hate and violence.”
Alderman Pawar stated that “This resolution is a statement about Chicago’s values and I felt it was important to call out some of the inflammatory rhetoric in public sphere – there are many elected and public officials that actively stoke these flames to further a political agenda. This is not right. We are all Americans regardless of where we come from, who we worship, and who we marry. Words have consequences and the Sikh Temple shooting or the vandalism at Mosques are a reflection of the rhetoric in the public sphere. This resolution seeks to restart a conversation – a conversation that is rooted in facts, compassion, understanding and one that promotes diversity. Mayor Emanuel is working to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation – now our conversation must reflect that goal.”
A similar resolution is being introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives by Representative Daniel Biss with Representative Lou Lang serving as the chief co-sponsor.
“SAAPRI has appreciated the opportunity to take a lead in providing community input in the drafting of this resolution, and we look forward to working with the City of Chicago on additional measures that promote education about diverse cultures and keep our community safe,” said Ami Gandhi, executive director of SAAPRI.
CAIR-Chicago will continue to work with SAAPRI, Alderman Pawar, the City and community members in ensuring we create dialogue and provide education on these issues.
WATCH: Introduction of anti-hate resolution (invocation begins at 2:20; resolution introduction begins at 46:03)
SEE: SAAPRI Press Release