April 29, 2019 (Poway, CA) – On Saturday, April 27th, a gunman walked into the Chabad of Poway and started shooting at the congregation, killing one member and wounding three others
on the last day of Passover. The attack was exactly six months after the deadly shooting at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue that killed 11 and injured several more.
The greater San Diego community is coming together at a candlelight vigil
organized by Poway Unified School District in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego. The candlelight vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Poway High School stadium tonight.
“No community should ever feel unsafe in their house of worship, and our hearts go out to all who were affected by such hate and violence in Poway this weekend,” said Sikh Coalition Executive Director Satjeet Kaur. “Sikhs stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and it’s important for the Sikh community of San Diego to express that solidarity at tonight's vigil.”
The 19-year-old shooting suspect has been arrested, and details are still emerging. The Sikh community is well aware of the pain of such hate and violence, and will never forget when 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 on August 5, 2012.
In response to this act of violence, the Sikh Coalition also 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 19 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.