Update 7/24: The suspect, John Lee Cowell, has been arrested.
On Sunday night, two young black women were brutally attacked at MacArthur BART station in Oakland
. 18-year-old Nia Wilson and 21-year-old Letifah Wilson, sisters, exited the train, when a man who had been on the same train followed them and slashed both of their throats. Letifah was rushed to the hospital, but unfortunately, Nia succumbed to her injuries.BART police have since identified the suspect as John Lee Cowell, a 27-year-old white male, but haven't found him yet. Police need to do everything they can to find him immediately and then investigate whether this was a hate crime.
According to reports, hate crimes have been steadily rising in the U.S.
, reaching the highest level in a decade this year. This rise has affected cities and counties across the country, including the largest cities and metropolitan areas.
These findings aren't very surprising when you consider the countless stories of violent and/or verbal attacks against black and brown Americans we hear about almost daily
. Hate has been emboldened in the U.S., and these racially motivated attacks have fatal consequences all too often.
While we don't know whether Cowell targeted the Wilson sisters because they were black, there is enough reason to believe that this was a hate crime, and it must be investigated as such. Initial reports suggested that this was a random attack, but it has since been discovered that Cowell changed his clothes
afterwards, suggesting premeditation. However, Cowell did not seem to know the Wilson sisters, so why would he target them? Was it their race? These are questions that must be answered.BART Police is leading this investigation with the support of the Oakland Police Department. Please sign this petition urging both to investigate this terrifying attack as a hate crime.
#JusticeForNiaWilsonPhoto credit: Facebook