October 27, 2018 - (New York, NY) - This morning, a shooter walked into the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Congregation, a Jewish synagogue, and reportedly yelled “all Jews must die” before killing at least four and injuring several more.
The shooting suspect has been arrested. While the facts are fluid and the motivation behind the shooting remains under investigation, this act of savage violence becomes the third deadly shooting in an American house of worship in the last six years.
On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans during a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As the Sikh community will never forget, on August 5, 2012, a neo-Nazi gunman with white supremacist ties walked into a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and murdered six Sikh Americans while injuring several more.
“Our hearts break for everybody who is suffering through the unimaginable trauma and grief in Pittsburgh right now,” said Sikh Coalition Executive Director, Satjeet Kaur. “As we know, no community should ever feel unsafe in their house of worship, and Sikhs nationwide stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters as we grieve together.”
In response to this tragic act of violence, the Sikh Coalition calmly urges sangat members to know their rights, remain vigilant and always report cases of bias, bigotry and backlash.
TAKE ACTION & KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
1. Report Hate Incidents – If you or somebody you know has experienced hate violence, bias-based property damage, hate vandalism, or threats thereof, call law enforcement immediately and seek medical attention if needed. Please be aware that law enforcement should not ask you about your immigration status, and in the event that they do, you have the right to not answer this question. If you would like to have a free and confidential consultation with experienced attorneys in either English or Punjabi, please contact the Sikh Coalition at 212-655-3095 or fill out our reporting form.
2. Know Your Rights – Please be aware of your surroundings and know your rights. Download our FAQ guide on hate crimes and hate speech and learn how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Our hate crime poster can be displayed at your gurdwara and is available in both English and Punjabi. Additionally, we provide educational brochures that serve as an introduction to the Sikh faith, community and traditions. This resource is available in 18 different languages. To receive free copies of any of our available resources or discuss a Know Your Rights training or workshop to be conducted at your gurdwara, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Share Gurdwara Security Toolkit – Print or email our Gurdwara Security Toolkit, and share it with your gurdwara. Over 50 gurdwaras worked with the Sikh Coalition to take proactive steps to make their gurdwaras safer. Ask your gurdwara if they have already participated, and if they haven’t, please have a committee member email us at email@example.com for a free consultation.
4. Share This Information With Your Friends and Family – Encourage family and friends to sign up for the Sikh Coalition’s email alerts so that they can continue to receive related updates on resources and information. Take the next easy step and post this information to your social media accounts. It is critical that we disseminate this information to every sangat member so that if a hate crime happens, they know we are here to provide free and confidential legal resources.
The Sikh Coalition continues every day to combat hate and ignorance through our never-ending legal, policy, advocacy and education work.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.