Replace Congressman Peter King as the 2013 Commencement Speaker
  • Petitioned St. John's University

This petition was delivered to:

St. John's University

Replace Congressman Peter King as the 2013 Commencement Speaker

    1. Jonaki Singh
    2. Petition by

      Jonaki Singh

      Jamaica, NY

On April 15, 2013, St. John’s University announced the 2013 Queens Commencement Speaker: Congressman Peter T. King, a representative of New York’s 2nd District (consisting of parts of Nassau and Suffolk county) and formerly the Chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security.

Throughout his years in Congress, King has made discriminatory and offensive comments regarding issues such as bilingual education and domestic terrorism. Here are some of his statements as quoted from his website (http://peteking.house.gov/):  

On Bilingual Education:

“The English language has been the glue which binds us together as Americans...The federal government has imposed such misguided programs as bilingual education and bilingual voting ballots. These programs have been a disaster, dividing our country by language and leaving immigrants in linguistic ghettos.”

On Homeland Security:

“As Committee Chairman I have conducted a series of hearings on the extent of radicalization in the Muslim-American Community. We must move beyond political correctness and address the root causes of how and why certain individuals are being radicalized here in the United States and participating in terrorist attacks against Americans.”

Congressman King has had his say. Now it is our turn to speak.

St. John’s promotes itself as an environment that fosters diversity. In our mission statement, we pride ourselves on being a Catholic, Vincentian, and Metropolitan University. The St John’s University website combines these three ideas and advertises them to communicate its pride in the diverse student body: “Students at St. John's represent a vast range of nationalities, ethnicities and faith traditions. This fosters the cosmopolitan atmosphere you expect of a world-class Catholic university -- reflecting the remarkable diversity of New York City itself.” Having individuals who speak multiple languages, come from various backgrounds and faiths is what enriches our experience here as St John's students. We take pride in our bilingual population.

As a University, we clearly cherish the dignity of every student, administrator, and staff member on campus. According to the St. John’s website, “[we have] respect for the rights and dignity of every person and each individual’s responsibility for the world in which we live.” Congressman King's trials against American-Muslims last year contradict this respect for the rights and dignity of our students here.

It is clear that his views do not reflect this mission of respect, tolerance, and diversity. Our concern, as graduating seniors, is having him as our Commencement Speaker. This speaker is unique for the graduating class because she/he should be someone who represents our experience at St. John’s and will inspire us to make a difference in the world around us. At a school with such a diverse student body, the views that Congressman King represent will be contradictory to our experience and who we are striving to become.

We are asking all of you to show your support to the Concerned Graduating Seniors, and have St John's University choose a Commencement Speaker who rightfully represents the core of our Catholic, Vincentian and Metropolitan mission.

If you would like to contact us please email us at stj.cgs2013@gmail.com

To:
St. John's University
Replace Congressman Peter King as the 2013 Commencement Speaker

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 7 months ago

      Lesbian and gay rights are human rights!

      Back in December 2011,the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a landmark report identifying that violence against LGBT people “tends to be especially vicious compared to other bias-motivated crimes.” It said that states have an “obligation to exercise due diligence” to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

      Thailand is a country often assumed to be LGBT friendly because of the tolerance that is part of Thai Buddhism, but human rights advocates are protesting a pattern of killings of lesbians and ‘tomboys.’ ‘Tom’ is a specifically Thai gender identity where lesbian women dress, act and speak in a masculine fashion.

      Most of the killings have been dismissed by police as “love gone sour” or the fault of the victims.

      They have verified information in 15 murder cases over the last few years, the youngest of whom was 17. In addition to being stabbed multiple times, suffocated, strangled, or shot to death, many of the lesbians and toms had also been raped. In two cases of double homicides, lesbian couples were killed by men who objected to their relationship and felt rebuffed when their attempts at coercing one partner into a heterosexual relationship failed.

      24-year-old Nurisan Chedurame was described as a tomboy by those who knew her and in the media. Last December, she was found dead near her village’s garbage dump with her head smashed in. A three-inch club was found at the crime scene. Relatives said that Nurisan had not returned from being out with friends the night before. Thai media quote police as suspecting she was killed because “she was involved with women.”

      Also in December, the body of 25-year-old tomboy Kanchana Changkwian was found two months after she went missing. In that case, police speculated that she had been raped and murdered “for becoming involved with a married woman.”

      In another case from last year a ‘tom’ (who is not named in reports) was murdered by her girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. Parents and relatives of the girlfriend (also not named) had opposed the relationship, and despite threats against the tom, had failed to stop the couple from continuing to see each other. The mother of the girlfriend engineered the murder of the tom and promised to marry off her daughter to the ex-boyfriend who committed the murder.

      Most of the verified cases have not been properly investigated because of a failure to recognize possible hate crime motives.

      Said Grace Poore, of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC):

      “The killing and rapes of lesbians and toms represents a callous disregard for humanity. The failure of the Thai government to prevent or properly investigate these killings are not only appalling, they are evidence of poor governance and blatant violation of international human rights law.”

      IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have written to the Thai government demanding that this pattern of killings be investigated. The letter also makes a series of recommendations that authorities work with local human rights groups to ensure that LGBT people enjoy the protections they have under Thai law and that they educate both law enforcement and the Thai public about those protections.

      Thailand has signed a number of international treaties that guarantee respect for human rights, and it was one of the countries which supported the process at the United Nations, led by South Africa, which has resulted in the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report.

      Australian police have released a shocking X-ray photo showing the skull of a murdered Chinese immigrant shot 34 times in the head and neck with a high-power nail gun.

      The body of gay Chen Liu, 27, was found 2008 by two children in marshland in south Sydney, wrapped in a carpet and bound with electrical wire.Detectives said the weapon used was a standard gas nail gun widely available and used in construction, firing nails up to 85mm (3.3 inches) long.

      “In 36 years, I’ve never seen a murder of this nature,” Homicide Squad Superintendent Geoff Beresford said.

      “It’s a particularly brutal and vicious murder and hence the reason we are seeking information from the public.”

      Liu arrived in Australia in 2000 and was reported missing last year.

      Police appealed to the public for help in solving the gruesome killing of a Chinese man who was shot 34 times in the head and neck with a nail gun before being dumped in a river.

      Police have yet to say whether they’ve identified any suspects.

      The 34 nails were found during a post-mortem examination of Liu’s body, and were located mainly in his skull. They were fired from an 85 mm nail gun at close range, Beresford said. Police have not recovered the weapon.

      “We certainly believe the nail gun is responsible for the death – there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

      Police believe he was killed 12 days before his corpse was discovered.

      Police are investigating associates of Liu, who also went by the name Anthony Liu, but said they have no evidence to suggest he was linked to any criminal group. They refused to say whether they’ve identified any suspects or persons of interest.

      Liu arrived in the city of Melbourne on a student visa from China in early 2000 and moved to Sydney, where he married for a short time and separated, police said. They declined to release any additional information about him, including whether any of his family members are living in Australia.

      “In 36 years, I’ve never seen a murder of this nature,” Homicide Squad Superintendent Geoff Beresford said.

      “It’s a particularly brutal and vicious murder and hence the reason we are seeking information from the public.”

      Liu arrived in Australia in 2000 and was reported missing last year.

      Police appealed to the public for help in solving the gruesome killing of a Chinese man who was shot 34 times in the head and neck with a nail gun before being dumped in a river.

      Police have yet to say whether they’ve identified any suspects.

      The 34 nails were found during a post-mortem examination of Liu’s body, and were located mainly in his skull. They were fired from an 85 mm nail gun at close range, Beresford said. Police have not recovered the weapon.

      “We certainly believe the nail gun is responsible for the death – there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

      Police believe he was killed 12 days before his corpse was discovered.

      Police are investigating associates of Liu, who also went by the name Anthony Liu, but said they have no evidence to suggest he was linked to any criminal group. They refused to say whether they’ve identified any suspects or persons of interest.

      Liu arrived in the city of Melbourne on a student visa from China in early 2000 and moved to Sydney, where he married for a short time and separated, police said. They declined to release any additional information about him, including whether any of his family members are living in Australia.

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    • Paige Ingram QUEENS, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      As a recent graduate from St. John's I am ashamed at this selection! St. John's has hundreds of notable figures to chose from who have done amazing things to better society. Peter King is not one of them.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alyssa Santana FLISHING, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      I don't even know who this person is! This is our graduation, let us pick!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • kuljit kaur JAMAICA, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      Because it is.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • about 1 year ago

      he is racist

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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