Kunal Sah won the district spelling bee and will be representing Utah at the National Spelling Bee at the end of the month. He will be accompanied by his uncle DC Prasad. His parents, Ken and Sarita Sah, remain in India as Kunal finishes his eighth grade year at Green River High. They are no closer to coming home than they were almost a year ago when they were deported.
A while back, the New York Times newspaper came to Green River to interview Kunal and his uncle. This article which came out May 5 in their Sunday edition, disturbed me. It was an unfair portrayal of this Indian family. When I got to the end, I decided the writer had given a decidedly racial slant to this article.
He insinuated the Green River community didn't like the Sah family. The writer insinuated the Sahs were pressured to become Mormons. He said that people who came into the motel are offended to see brown people behind the desk.
I find those insinuations irritating and untrue. I have been at the motel many times when visitors to Green River are checking in. They always treat the clerks very kindly as they check into their rooms. I have never seen anyone refuse to stay at the Sah's Ramada because the family is brown. I am not saying it hasn't ever happened because I know there are people out there who do feel this way. I hope I never meet any of them. I have found the family has been well received in Green River.
The last time I stayed at the Ramada was a sad occasion. I was there for the funeral of my friend Jace Vetere. As I prepared to go to the funeral, DC Prasad insisted I take a sympathy card from him and Kunal with a monetary donation for the grieving Vetere family. DC said he wants to be part of this community. I thought this was a very sweet gesture.
The New York Times had called our office for a picture which I wouldn't have sent if I had know the slant of their article at the time. I will have to be more careful in the future, But, then again, NBC news called and said they were coming out to do a piece on Kunal. I did ask them what slant they were going to take with the Sah family. They said they were going to interview Ken and Sarita in India and would be in Green River this week to interview there. They seemed pretty sincere, so I consented to let them use my photos. I hope they take a more reasonable approach in their article.
The media can take whichever slant they choose, I hope they don't do anything to further hurt this family that has already suffered enough. I have tried to be very cooperative with other news organizations to help get the word out about this family. I thought that sometime, somewhere, the right person might hear their story and be able to help bring the Sah family back together in Green River. I will continue to hold onto this hope.