This is an open letter to Ian Grillot. Grillot came to the rescue when a very hateful man started harassing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Reddy Madasani.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani are Indian immigrants who came to the United States for higher education and became upstanding Americans workers. Kuchibhotla and Madasani were enjoying a meal when Adam Purinton heckled them with unwarranted interrogations regarding their immigration status and eventually told Kuchibhotla and Madasani to “get out of my country.” Purinton was kicked out of the bar, but came back in with a gun, killing Kuchibhotla and injuring Madasani and Grillot. Grillot tried to quell Purinton, but he ended up shooting and injuring Grillot in his hand and chest.
[Read Related: Why the Death of Indian American Srinivas Kuchibhotla is a Hate Crime and Nothing Less]
Dear Mr. Grillot,
Thank you. Thank you, infinitely, so many times over. I know you aren’t calling yourself a hero, but you are one. You are the face of pure and true humanity. It’s all about humans helping humans, which is the spirit you encaptured in your courageous actions.
When I read that you tried to subdue the gunman, I wept. I wept for your humanity. I wept for your bravery. And I wept because you showed the true American spirit. You are what being an American is all about.
You reached across barriers of skin tone, religion, and culture, and saw everyone as just a human being. I’m sure that you didn’t realize that you would become such a symbol. But you are a symbol, one of hope and unity that we desperately need to knit us back together.
I will admit, with the sociopolitical climate lately, minorities in America are feeling scared. It’s scary to be uncertain of what may happen to each of us at any time, but you showed us that the United States can still be a welcoming place and will not stand for hate or intolerance.
In my heart, I believe that our country holds many people just like you, people who would do the right thing in times like this. We are a diverse country, which makes us a culturally rich country. We Indians are thankful to you. We minorities are thankful to you. We Americans are grateful to you. Thank you so much.
Anagha Kikkeri is a seventeen-year-old girl from Dallas, Texas. She is a political activist, focusing primarily on righting abuses of equality and human rights. On her own time, she enjoys playing the piano, volunteering, and spending time with her family.