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Using Unreasonable Force for Speaking No English

What was really on trial in the Sureshbhai Patel case?

In early September, a jury in Huntsville, Alabama, began to hear testimony in the case of Eric Parker, a white police officer who faced federal charges for violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian immigrant and grandfather. On September 11th, the jury of ten white men and two Black women reached a stalemate in their deliberations for the third time, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. What happened during the trial should concern all Asian Americans and anyone working on police brutality cases.

The facts in … Read more “Using Unreasonable Force for Speaking No English”

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Spelling Race

Sai Vishudhi Chandrasekhar of New York, New York, during the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals on May 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

It’s the week of the 88th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in which 285 Americans under 15 are vying to become national speller-in-chief. But amidst the fanfare that surrounds the Scripps competition, airing in part today on ESPN, is the prevalence of two problematic race-based narratives that arise without fail each year.

The

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What Does The Indictment in the Madison, Alabama Excessive Force Case Mean?

On March 27th, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had indicted a Madison Alabama police officer for using unreasonable force against Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian grandfather. Police had followed upon a 9/11 call that a suspicious-looking “skinny black guy” was walking around a residential neighborhood. Mr. Patel happened to live in that neighborhood with his son. After questioning Mr. Patel, it became clear that he had limited English ability and was from India. Still, Officer Eric Parker assaulted him – video available here. The assault left Mr. Patel partially paralyzed.

Mr. Patel’s case … Read more “What Does The Indictment in the Madison, Alabama Excessive Force Case Mean?”

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13 Years After 9/11: A Reflection on Resilience

 I came of age in post 9/11 America like many other people around the United States. On September 11, 2001, I was working as a lawyer in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, and living close enough to the Pentagon that the smoke burning from the building was visible from my apartment balcony in Arlington, Virginia for days. It’s safe to say that I felt, as so many did around the nation, that everything changed on September 11, 2001.

For me, the months that followed were a call to action. Like others of South Asian, Arab, … Read more “13 Years After 9/11: A Reflection on Resilience”

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Growing Up To Be Like Yuri Kochiyama

She may be best known in the public eye for the iconic picture that shows her cradling Malcolm X’s head in her lap after he was killed in a Manhattan auditorium, but Yuri Kochiyama’s life and legacy stood for much more, especially to Asian Americans. Many of us learned of Yuri Kochiyama’s recent death, not from mainstream news outlets, which have yet to do her legacy full justice, but from one another. And we have had very similar collective responses: tremendous gratitude for how she influenced us, coupled with a redoubling of our commitment to the principles she lived by.… Read more “Growing Up To Be Like Yuri Kochiyama”