Statement About Shooting of Young Palestinian Men in Burlington
Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
Vermont Legal Aid is deeply saddened and horrified by the tragic shooting of three young Palestinian men, Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ali Ahmad, in our city of Burlington. On November 25, 2023, Jason Eaton allegedly opened fire on the men, who were donning Kaffiyehs (traditional Palestinian scarf) and speaking in Arabic while heading to a holiday dinner. This violence is both senseless and heartbreaking. Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
Vermont Legal Aid’s new Executive Director, Yasmin Dwedar, shares that “[she] is intimately familiar with discrimination, hate, and violence, as a Muslim woman of color of Arab and Asian descent.” She went on to state, “It is deeply hurtful to feel targeted for your racial, ethnic, and/or religious background and I can only imagine what these young men, their friends and family, and their communities are facing as they struggle to make sense of and recover from this heinous incident. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this tragedy.”
Enough is enough. Violence and hate should have no place in our communities. Vermonters deserve to feel safe. We will continue to focus on and invest in the safety of our communities. Our Victims’ Rights Project assists survivors of crime with legal issues related to the crime they experienced. Our staff attorneys provide legal advice, representation in civil and criminal courts, and collaborate with other agencies to amplify the voices of survivors and support them on their path to healing.
A safer Vermont takes working together to advance fairness, equity, and justice for our most vulnerable communities. Only by working together can we demonstrate that one person’s hateful actions do not represent our greater community. We stand ready with a healing hand extended to help those directly impacted by this horrible crime.