Today, we reflect on and commemorate the heroes and lives we lost to the tragedy of September 11th seventeen years ago. We remember the firefighters, police officers, reporters, photojournalists, and civilians who risked their own lives in order to assist others. We remember Betty Ann Ong, a Chinese American flight attendant, whose call to ground control to report the hijacking while aboard American Airlines Flight 11 resulted in the unprecedented closure of airspace and thwarted any other possible attacks. And while we remember the heroes of that tragic day, we also remember and recognize the social impact of how our community was affected by the event.
Since 9/11, Racial profiling and racially motivated hate crimes against the Arab, South Asian, Muslim and Sikh communities have increased five times. In response, OCA New York Chapter hosts an annual Hate Crimes Prevention Art Project and OCA National Center released the Hate Crimes Manual to help respond to local events – something that rings true today like Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian American who was shot to death in Kansas on February 22, 2017 by a shooter who shouted “get out of my country!” Historically, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been subject to persecution as the result of being scapegoated as threats to national security.
As we keep the victims of 9/11 and their families in our thoughts today, we should also remember not to let the hatred, fear and prejudice that drives such hate crimes affect our relationships with each other. We must work together to fight for justice, equity and equality in this nation.
Join OCA in a day of service to our country as we seek common ground toward our fight for a more just society.