June 19, 2016 (Orlando, FL) – One week ago, a gunman walked into a LGBTQ nightclub and murdered 49 innocent people and wounded 53 more. The deadliest shooting in U.S. history became the 133rd mass shooting
in the United States this year.
“We continue to shed tears across the country in the wake of this violence and we pray for the victims, their families and those impacted by this tragedy,” said the Sikh Coalition’s Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.
The Sikh community of Orlando has stood alongside the LGBTQ and Muslim communities to share a message of solidarity during this difficult time. “We must remain united and stand together to combat hatred,” said Orlando community leader, Baljit Singh Johal. “Our differences are what makes this nation great and we must respect and protect each other from those who would like to strike fear by causing us to think otherwise.”
In response to last week’s tragedy, the Orlando area sangat raised money that was used to purchase supplies for a local vigil hosted by Equality Florida. Community members are also scheduling appointments to donate blood, and the Sikh community will join thousands of Orlando residents tonight for an evening of remembrance one week after the deadly attacks.
“We are all American and we are strongest when we stand together during this difficult time,” said 20 year-old community organizer, Dilpreet Singh Johal.
In the aftermath of such tragic violence, minority communities are acutely vulnerable to backlash, and the Sikh Coalition urges every Sikh to exercise extra vigilance and caution during this period of heightened anxiety. Please notify law enforcement of any threats of violence and contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or online here
The FAQ guide
on hate crimes, hate speech and how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition remains a valuable guide for all community members. The www.ReportHate.org
resource was also launched this year to further ensure that all cases of backlash and bias are reported by Sikhs across the United States.
Together, we must continue to fight for the rights of all. As always, we encourage Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly.