Today marks the third anniversary of the tragic Oak Creek, Wisconsin shooting that killed six innocent worshippers and injured several others.
We honor those who lost their lives: Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suvegh Singh Khattra, and Satwant Singh Kaleka. We continue to pray for those who were critically injured: Baba Punjab Singh, Bhai Santokh Singh, and Lt. Brian Murphy. With these families in our hearts and minds, we must continue to chart a course that better prevents and eliminates these tragic acts of violence.
From Oak Creek to Charleston, as we continue to grieve for the families and impacted communities whose lives have been irrevocably altered by bigoted violence, it is clear that our journey to combat the problem of hatred is a shared one. From the Sikh gurdwara to the African American church, we must continue to identify new opportunities to show America that it is never acceptable to target any community with violence. We must remain relentless in our pursuit to better educate and protect each other and our work with you remains critical to achieving this objective.
Last week we worked with Harpreet Singh Saini - a remarkable young man who lost his mother in Oak Creek – to publish an Op-Ed in the New York Times arguing for why South Carolina must pass their own state hate crimes law. As a civil rights organization we will continue to use every tool at our disposal – legal, legislative, grassroots mobilization – to fight for your safety and for you to practice your faith fearlessly.
The Sikh American community will never forget what happened three years ago today and our organizational mission includes ensuring that the rest of America never does as well. The memories of those lost to hate crimes live on in each and every one of us and it fuels the work we do every day to make our nation a more tolerant place.
I am humbled by the undeniable spirit of Chardi Kala (eternal optimism) that we continue to witness in Oak Creek, and I’m inspired by the solidarity that the Sikh American community continues to show in support of that perseverance. Even in the face of horrific setbacks, we get up and march forward together with the goal of making a lasting difference for the next generation of Americans who follow.
The Sikh Coalition
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