July 14th, 2004
On July 14, 2004, Peaceful Tomorrows’ Adele Welty participated in a press conference called by New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) regarding hate crimes in New York, following the beating of Rajinder Singh Khalsa, a Sikh man in Queens.
Comments by Adele Welty at New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) press conference, 7/14/04:
I am Adele Welty, the mother of Firefighter Timothy Welty, lost in the line of duty at the World Trade Center. I am also a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. There have been hundreds of bias crimes in this city since 9/11 in which innocent, hard working immigrants have been attacked because of their ethnicity. Those who perpetrate bias crimes are no different than the terrorists who attacked us, they are motivated by hatred. It is a blasphemy to invoke the memory of all the precious souls that died that day to perpetrate an atrocity against another human being in their names.
I am also an Italian American, whose grandparents came to this country to find a better life for their children. I remember as a small child during the Second World War, having ethnic epithets shouted at us, accusing us of being fascists because this country was at war with Italy, part of the that Axis of Evil.
I am as appalled by this type of behavior now as I was frightened by it then. Such behavior rises out of ignorance and is not consistent with the values of this country. Being drunk is no excuse. Alcohol becomes a disinhibitor to express deeply ingrained prejudice too many Americans harbor against their fellow human beings.
I urge all New Yorkers to condemn this crime in the strongest terms and recognize its implications for the future. I urge the clergy to provide their congregations with understanding that we all share a common humanity. I urge teachers to develop curricula based on the diversity that has built this nation. We must teach our children and grandchildren to oppose acts of violence against other ethnic groups. I urge our representatives in this city, in the state and in the Congress to speak out against prejudice and provide moral leadership, not because it is politically expedient, but because it is the right thing to do.