Published On: Wed, Jan 31st, 2018

'We belong here': Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s widow starts 'Forever Welcome' campaign in US

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Sunayana said that the campaign wants "to ensure the US is a safe place for current and future immigrant generations."
The widow of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was murdered in the United States last year, Sunayana Dumala, has launched a campaign titled ‘Forever Welcome’ to spread the message that immigrants were an integral part of the country.
Taking to Facebook, she spoke about her journey, days before she is scheduled to attend the maiden State of the Union address by US President Donald Trump.
Srinivas (32) was killed and his friend Alok Madasani was injured when Adam Purinton, a white man who earlier served in the US Navy, shot them at the Austins Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas State on February 22 last year.
“Do we belong? This is the question I asked 11 months ago, in my first Facebook post, days after my husband was taken from me. To my surprise, the post was widely spread and received an overwhelming response and an outpouring of love and support. Many writers and documentary film makers approached me, and I was often asked what compelled me to ask that question. It was my pain that made me write that elaborate and long post. My pain of losing a part of me – my Srinu. By sharing the story, I wanted to shed light on the fact that we were normal people; like everyone else, we had dreams of having a better future and family. But all of this got shattered because of one man’s ignorance,” Sunayana wrote in a Facebook post.
She also pointed that such shootings and murders are only discussed for a few weeks and forgotten. 
“I could not let that happen — Srinu is so much more than a hate crime statistic. And so, I started to think about what we can do to stop more “Srinivas’s” and “Sunayana’s” from going through this trauma,” she wrote.
Following this, Sunayana said that she approached the CEO of her company, Intouch Solutions, Faruk Capan, to raise awareness on the issue. 
“A team of volunteers came forward from all over the company and brainstormed different ideas. We shortlisted one goal – to ensure the U.S. is a safe place for current and future immigrant generations – and to spread our message using social media,” Sunayana wrote.
That is how the ‘Forever Welcome’ campaign began.
“WE DO BELONG HERE – That is the answer I found in the last 11 months through the immense love and support that I received from all corners. And now, I am spreading this same message through the Forever Welcome initiative. This is how I honor my beloved Srinu and continue to keep his legacy,” Sunayana said.
Congressman Kevin Yoder, a Republican, and a member of the Congressional caucus on India and Indian-Americans, extended an invitation to Sunayana to attend the State of the Union address.
It has been close to a year since Srinivas was shot, and his murder was one of the first recognised hate crimes in the US, after Donald Trump took office.
During the incident last year, Purinton reportedly got into a row with the victims and hurled racial slurs. He yelled “Get out of my country” and “terrorist” before shooting them. American Ian Grillot was also injured in the attack when he tried to intervene.
In March last year, the Governor of Kansas declared March 16 as “Indian American Appreciation Day” to honour Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
Meanwhile, Purinton was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
 
 

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