Assemblyman Weprin, Sikh Cultural Society & Elected Officials Stand with Sikh Taxi Driver Harkirat Singh

Richmond Hill, New York – Assemblyman David Weprin joined Sikh taxi driver Harkirat Singh at the Sikh Cultural Society in response to an aggressive bias crime that took place while Mr. Singh was on duty in the Bronx. After taking four passengers to a location he was directed to, Mr. Singh was physically assaulted and subjected to a barrage of discriminatory slurs in an assault which culminated in the theft of his turban. Wearing a turban is critical to the Sikh identity and by removing Mr. Singh’s turban, the assailant targeted Mr. Singh’s Sikh religion and the community at large. The assault is the latest in a sting of crimes directed toward Sikh communities in the United States.

In a strong show of support, Weprin was joined by other Queens officials including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council member Rory Lancman, Council member Barry Grodenchik, Franck D. Joseph II of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and Kudip Singh Dhillon of the Sikh Cultural Society. The group assembled to speak out against continued misplaced violence targeted at people who practice Sikkism and to raise awareness of the Sikh religion.

"With hate crimes rising in 2017, it is more important than ever that we stand together with our fellow Americans of faith." said Assemblyman David Weprin. “In Queens, we join together and unite each time we hear of a bias attack against any group; and we work with each other to help others be tolerant of each other’s cultures and creeds."

“What happened to Mr. Singh is not OK. The cruel irony of the attack and robbery of Mr. Singh is that the turban (pagg) symbolizes a commitment to kindness, justice, compassion and equality. Acts of such hate have been occurring with more frequency throughout NYC and the country. Every time this happens, we must be vigilant in reporting it and denouncing it fully, because every time we don’t, we become complicit in normalizing such bias and hate. Thank you, Mr. Singh, for having the courage and taking the time to speak up so that we can stand with you and send the message that this is not OK. Queens has your back” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

"The racially motivated assault of Harkirat Singh last weekend horrified every New Yorker. In New York City, where we take pride in our diversity and inclusiveness, an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. I am proud to stand with Harkirat Singh and the Sikh community today to send a message that acts of hatred and violence have no place in our City" said Council Member Rory Lancman.

“Harkirat Singh was attacked for the "crime" of being Sikh. We will not tolerate this and Queens will continue to stand up against hate and intolerance” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik.

“New York City does not tolerate discrimination or hate,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The Commission is using every tool at its disposal to make sure every New Yorker – Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Atheist alike – can live and worship free from hate and discrimination and to hold violators accountable. If you or someone you know is the victim of discrimination or harassment, please call 311 and ask for Human Rights or call the Commission directly at 718-722-3131.”