Standing Against Divisive Rhetoric
(Annapolis, Maryland) — Many of us were deeply concerned about the divisive rhetoric used during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Unfortunately, the consequences of this rhetoric have now become part of the narrative of America under a President Donald Trump administration.
While the existence of bigotry certainly predates President Trump, it cannot be ignored that Trump’s anti-immigrant message has made a fertile environment for racism to thrive.
Condoning discrimination and racial profiling came to a terrible end on February 22nd in Olathe, Kansas when an intoxicated man shouting racial slurs murdered Srinivas Kuchibhotla a 32 year Indian immigrant. Srinivas came to the United States like many over the generations to work on his American dream. He was an engineer, educated at the University of Texas whose friends remarked was the “kindest person you would meet, full of love, care and compassion for everyone. He never uttered a word of hatred, a simple gossip, or a careless comment. He was brilliant, well-mannered and simply an outstanding human being.”
I didn’t know Srinivas, but his story is my story, an immigrant’s story. We both grew up in a part of India called Andhra Pradesh. We both chose to become engineers, and we both had the opportunity to come to this country for a better life. I spent my college years not too far from Olathe, Kansas in Rolla, Missouri. I understand the life that Srinivas and his wife Sunayana were living, because it was so similar to my own. And even though his life has ended violently, our connectivity remains.
This crime proves that words matter. If we continue to condemn and marginalize entire groups of people, allowing it to happen not just from the fringes of our society but to be normalized by our own elected leaders, senseless tragedies like the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla will follow. It is un-American.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla loss is tragic but it cannot be in vain. His loss needs to be our call to action. We cannot shrink away in fear. All Americans, new immigrants and those who have been here for generations need to contact our elected official and demand them to stand up against racial injustice.
As a Maryland Delegate, I am focusing on legislation that protects those who can potentially be marginalized. I am focusing on legislation that makes my home state a safe place for people of any background to thrive. And I will ask Maryland Governor Hogan to stand up every day and do the same. He must stand up to Donald Trump and show him that leaders believe in the strength of all of our communities. This is not a moment to stay silent.
If I can be of assistance to you please contact my office Aruna.Miller@house.state.md.us.
A newslink to this tragic story can be found here.
A gofundmepage to support Srinivas’s family can be found here.