MEDIA RELEASE for September 11, 2016
Contact: Sasha W., NQAPIA Organizing Director, 909-343-2219, firstname.lastname@example.org
**#15YearsLater #RedefineSecurity #BlackLivesMatter**
LGBTQ South Asian, Muslim and Black Communities Protest 15 Years of Profiling on 9/11
WHO: NQAPIA, KhushDC, and dozens of supporting organizations
WHAT: #15YearsLater: Performative Action to End Profiling of LGBTQ South Asian & Muslim communities
WHERE: Washington DC
WHEN: Sunday, 9/11/16
10:30am-12:30pm – performing “checkpoints” across DC in Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Verizon
Center (Chinatown), and other locations
1-2pm – Rally at 14th and U St., NW
On the 15th anniversary of September 11th, organizers with the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and KhushDC will take part in a performative action to end Islamophobia and the legalized profiling of LGBTQ South Asian, Muslim and Black communities, which has intensified in the 15 years since 9/11. We are creating “checkpoints” in high-traffic areas of DC that replicate the various “checkpoints” South Asian, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Black people experience every day – being stopped when passing through TSA, being denied service because of religious markers, being called terrorists, being kicked off of flights, etc. Black Muslims experience this profiling at an even higher frequency, leading to brutality or death at the hands of law enforcement.
Almas Haider, NQAPIA board member, said, “9/11 changed my life. Overnight I went from a carefree 11-year-old to being on the receiving end of verbal and physical harassment. 15 years have changed nothing. The harassment continues and government policies have strengthened, targeting my community simply for how we look or how we pray. We are guilty simply for existing.”
Sasha W., NQAPIA’s Organizing Director, added, “I feel the aftershocks of 9/11 every day. From profiling at the airport, to verbal harassment on the street, to surveillance outside my apartment, the policies enacted in the wake of 9/11 have legalized the profiling and surveillance of my people. I cannot feel ‘safe’ until the legalized profiling, surveillance, and harassment end.”
Our daily experiences of profiling are connected to a larger system that targets Muslims and those perceived as Muslims. Policies mark us as potential threats, which enables government agencies, law enforcement and the general public to treat us accordingly. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) – has no legal protections against profiling. The Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) detains and deports people profiled as a danger to national security. The FBI’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program profiles Muslim youth. The FBI’s Terror Watchlist disproportionately targets Muslims, South Asians, Black people, immigrants, and people of color, without explanation.
Numerous studies have documented the impact of Islamophobia. A Gallup poll found that nearly half of all Muslims – 48 percent – reported that they, personally, had experienced racial or religious discrimination in the past year. In a Columbia University survey, 28 percent of Muslim high school students in New York reported being stopped by police as a result of racial profiling. A labor market study found a 10 percent decrease in earnings for Muslim and Arab men immediately after 9/11, with the effects greater in areas with a higher incidence of hate crimes.
Haider added, “There has been no acknowledgement of the violence being wrought on my community. And we cannot stand idly by, waiting for that to change.” We will set up “checkpoints” across DC on 9/11 to demonstrate how our communities have suffered in the past 15 years, and to continue our campaign to pressure the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into ending this legalized profiling.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBTQ AAPI groups, develop leadership, invigorate grassroots organizing, and challenge homophobia and racism.