Letter send to Prosecutor’s Office on Dharun Ravi
(NOTE: They acknowledged that this was given to prosecutor).
Date: May 02, 2012
I thank you for your hearing the views of community on Dharun Ravi case and agreeing to pass on this communication to appropriate channels in the prosecutors office.
My name is Satya Dosapati and I am a community activist who worked with Prosecutor Honorable Bruce Kaplan’s office in the past on Divyendu Sinha tragedy. I was part of the team which organized the vigil for Divyendu Sinha and I appreciate the exemplary job prosecutor’s office has done on that tragedy not only in pursuing the case but also informing the community.
I would like to share some thoughts many members of the community has in the the handling of Dharun Ravi case by prosecution. I sincerely hope it is taken in a positive spirit. There is enormous distress in many members of the community that justice was not done in Dharun Ravi case. The issue community is raising is in case of Divyendu Sinha the prosecutors office exercised extraordinary precaution not to use hate crime mainly because those committed the heinous act went after victims belonging different races. In Dharun Ravi case also, prosecution has at its disposal wealth of information (Ravi’s letter to Tyler which Tyler might not have seen) and the testimonies of several of Dharun Ravi friends which does not point to any bias. Why is it the prosecution did not exercise same level of precaution in framing those charges against Ravi? Even after choosing to use that, then why not disclose the letter written by Tyler which could be critical in the jury decision? There are also questions about constitution basis of the law itself which the judge called, ‘muddled’? The distress from the community also stems from that in last 30 years or so that this law was existent, it was not used even once (and please correct me if I am wrong here). Did not the media play a role in this? Some members even feel, whether justified or not, that there is even bias from the prosecutors office because of the Dharun’s race.
In the end there are no winners here. On one side there is a family that lost their son that has to live with this for the rest of their life. I recall during Iraq war, a mother of a soldier who was killed in war saying, ‘ the worst thing that can happen to a parent is to conduct the funeral of their own child’. Loss of a child is tearing apart of ones soul that one will carry it to their grave. Then there is on other side a family struggling to help their son facing severe prison term after having been subjected to enormous pain for last two years. Do we with full conscience believe it is Dharun Ravi who is fully responsible for this tragedy? No one summed this up better than Don Savage, who created the ‘It gets better’ campaign, “There is unseemly rush to pin responsibility for Tyler Clementi death on Dharun Ravi, to shift our blame on these two young, foolish, thoughtless teenagers shoulders, we need to look at other events in Tyler Clementi’s life to prevent more cases like this happening.’ He further said, “It feels like Dharun Ravi is being sacrificed for sins of all, what it really is entire culture… now two lives have been destroyed and no lessons have been learned”.
Dharun Ravi could not attend college for last two years and is being deprived what every young person yearns to, spend a social life with those of his age and continue his education. This will stay his entire life. Should we look other way for what he and his family and friends gone through over the last two years? Is there not a possibility for salvaging the situation? Perhaps, instead of using the enormous resources, perhaps beyond means, for defending the case and challenging the constitutionality of the hate crime law itself, would it not be better to invest those funds into the foundation created by Tyler Clementi’s parents and educate the society, starting from middle school, from parents accepting their children being different and even the religious leaders. Not only that, we can encourage Dharun Ravi to be the spokesperson to Tyler Clementi Foundation. Please let us take a pause and ask ourselves, is there a room for learning lessons, is there a way we can salvage at least one life as well as other potential youngsters for taking into extreme action. The problem is a complex one and there are no one shot lessons here.
In writing this, please understand I am writing as a community activist, not on behalf of the family and friends of Dharun Ravi. What pains me here is Indian Americans do not teach their children to hate gays and those who have different sexual orientation. It is part of our culture to be accepting those who are different and the testimonies of all Dharun Ravi’s friends and the letter he wrote to Tyler Clementi only affirms that. I am reaching out to gay and lesbian community to help bring some good of this unfortunate situation. I am also sending message to the family to consider different options mentioned here.
Let us come together and heal and not to break.
Thanks again for your support. If it is OK with you, I would like to release this letter to media.