Southeast Asian Americans Unite in Solidarity and Demand Justice for Soobleej Kaub Hawj

Media Contacts:
Mandy Diêc, SEARAC
Director of California
Nancy Xiong, HIP
Executive Director
Sacramento, CA –  On June 28, Soobleej Kaub Hawj was shot and killed by four officers, including from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office, while fleeing the Lava Fire. One witness said over 60 shots were fired at Hawj during the incident. In response, Zurg Xiong held an 18 day hunger strike pushing for the release of body and dash camera footage from the shooting and an independent investigation from a different agency. On July 21, Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao, Elk Grove School Board Trustee Sean Yang, Sanger Unified Board President Brandon Vang, and Sacramento City Council Member Maiv Yaj Vaj sent a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta requesting an independent investigation into Hawj’s death.
The shooting is the result of escalating racial discrimination against the Hmong and Asian American community in Siskiyou County, CA. In 2016, multiple incidents of voter suppression against Hmong residents by the Siskiyou Sheriff’s Office were reported. More recently, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors enacted water ordinances targeted at Hmong and Asian American farmers while being aggressively and disproportionately enforced by the Sheriff’s Office.
Anti-Asian policies rooted in xenophobia and nativism have a long legacy in California and the United States. The actions of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Office echo the racism against Asian Americans throughout United States history, such as with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, miners taxes sanctioned against Chinese immigrants, and the California laundromat laws of the same era. Moreover, inflammatory and racist rhetoric from local and national elected officials have emboldened violence against our communities while characterizing Siskiyou County residents as perpetual foreigners in the eyes of law enforcement. The death of Soobleej Kaub Hawj is another incident in the long history of state sanctioned violence against Black, brown, and Southeast Asian communities.
“We send our sincerest condolences to Soobleej Kaub Hawj’s family and community. His death at the hands of the police was horrific and entirely preventable. We support the courageous efforts of local organizers to demand accountability, including the need for the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office to immediately release body and vehicle camera footage from the shooting and for an external investigation into Hawj’s killing. Moreover, Siskiyou County officials and the Board of Supervisors must end their discriminatory water ordinance and invest resources into and create tangible plans toward improved and meaningful engagement with Hmong and Southeast Asian American communities. Lastly, our organizations reiterate the organizers’ request to California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, for an external investigation into the Board of Supervisors and the County Sheriff’s discriminatory policies and practices against the Hmong and Asian American community. County officials must be held accountable for their blatant civil rights violations.”
You can read the letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, learn more about the history of racial discrimination in the county, and sign a petition to support Soobleej Kaub Hawj’s family.
A Hopeful Encounter
Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI)
Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM)
Hmong Cultural Center in Butte County (HCCBC)
Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP)
Hmong Youth & Parents United
Iu Mien Community Services
Khmer Girls in Action (KGA)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
The Fresno Center
Vietnamese American Roundtable (VAR)