Last month a terrible shooting occurred in Olathe, Kansas against two Asian American men, legal immigrants from India, in what appears to have been a racially biased attack, killing one man and wounding the other. As the largest AsAm Political Action Committee, 80-20PAC reacted with a letter to Gov Sam Brownback of Kansas strongly urging that those allegedly responsible be charged under "hate-crime" laws and "racial bias" sentencing, as applicable.
The Governor's office responded to us with this letter:
I wanted to confirm to you that we received the letter from 80-20 PAC. Thank you for your input, we are on the same page when it comes to encouraging law enforcement to take all appropriate action. It is my understanding that state and local law enforcement are assisting federal counterparts in the investigation.
This tragedy does not represent the values of the people of Kansas, the Governor and Lt. Governor have condemned the actions of the attacker in the strongest terms, and we've reached out to both the Indian community in Kansas and the Indian government to assure them of our commitment to protecting the lives of all people who come to Kansas to build a life. Feel free to reach out to me with any further comments or concerns.
Brandon James Smith
Office of Governor Sam Brownback
Statehouse, Suite 264-W
300 SW 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
In his letter to The Hon. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, Governor Brownback expressed his "deep sadness and profound regret at the terrible act of violence" and acknowledged the "ingenuity, hard work, and determination" of Indian-Kansans. "Our state has thrived because of their contributions," he said.
We also want to let you know that APAPA, the largest AsAm Civil Rights Organization in California has also sent a letter of concern to Governor Brownback.
Please help us continue to speak out for the Asian American community.
Your generous contribution allows our work to continue.
P.S. For reference, here is a copy of our original letter:
The Honorable Sam Brownback
Governor of Kansas
300 S.W. 10th Street
Topeka, KS 66612
Dear Governor Brownback:
The Asian American community nationwide is shocked by news of the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and the shootings of Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot.
We write to encourage law enforcement authorities to consider filing all appropriate charges, including murder and hate crimes charges, against the alleged perpetrator of the shootings in order to send a strong message that violence targeting religious or ethnic minorities will not be tolerated.
We write to encourage Kansas investigators to co-operate with the FBI and with US Attorneys as they investigate the shootings.
We write to encourage the State of Kansas to apply any enhanced sentencing standards appropriate to crimes of "racial bias" should the alleged shooter be found guilty of any crimes in Kansas related to the shooting.
80-20 PAC is by far the largest Asian American Political Action Committee in the US. We recognize Mr. Kuchibhotla as a family man, a hard-working legal immigrant, a graduate of an American university, and a valued member of his Kansas community. He was the type of person we want to encourage to come to the U.S. Please help send the message that Kansas represents justice, that what happened in Olathe last week will not be tolerated, and that those (alleged) crimes will be prosecuted to the severest extent that law allows.