At JFK, Sikh Coalition Provides Info on Hate Crime to Drivers
Sikh Coalition volunteers in NYC, working with other civil rights groups worked to disseminate information on hate crime at JFK airport. (Photo Sikh Coalition)
India-West Staff Reporter
NEW YORK, NY – The Sikh Coalition, on Feb.12, joined with ‘sevadaars’ city agencies, and civil rights and community organizations to distribute free resources to taxi and rideshare drivers to help drivers respond quickly and effectively if passengers do threaten their safety.
More than 25 volunteers gathered at the JFK airport and distributed 600 fliers with links to free resources available from 10 organizations in more than a dozen languages.
“Events like these are critical for getting resources into the hands of people who need them and showing solidarity between different community organizations and the city agencies that serve them,” Sikh Coalition Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager Nikki Singh said. “We are grateful to everyone who made this resource distribution possible, and look forward to continuing to provide legal, advocacy, and community-based support to our taxi and rideshare drivers,” she added.
A Sikh Coalition volunteer distributing information to taxi drivers about hate crime
“Taxi and rideshare drivers from our communities remain vulnerable to hate and discrimination given their interactions with the public,” the Sikh Coalition noted pointing to the past several years, when it has provided free legal aid to a number of Sikh drivers who have been violently attacked.
The most recent one was on Jan.3, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department have since arrested Mohamed Hassanain for the attack at JFK Airport. Hassanain was charged with assault in the third degree as a hate crime, assault in the third degree, and aggravated harassment in the second degree. Hassanain allegedly repeatedly hit “Mr. Singh” in the head, chest, and arms, called him “turbaned people” and shouted at him to “go back to your country.”
The Sikh Coalition has provided free legal support to the victim who filed a report with the PAPD immediately after the incident, to ensure that the report included all of the details of the attack, given the language barrier during the initial conversations. The coalition said it remained engaged on this case as Hassanain heads to court next month.
The organizations involved included Arab American Association of New York, the Asian American Federation, CAIR of New York, the Korean American Family Service Center, Muslim Community Network New York, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Stand with Asian Americans, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, the NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, and the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.