December 7, 2019 (Long Branch, NJ) – On Friday, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) featured former Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy and members of the Sikh community at their Mid-Year Meeting.
Former Lieutenant Murphy was a featured speaker at the event, and Raghuvinder Singh spoke at the beginning of his session. Raghuvinder’s father, Baba Punjab Singh, was shot in the August 2012 assault on the Oak Creek gurdwara that left six Sikh worshippers dead. To this day, the elder Mr. Singh lies in a hospital bed, unable to move or speak.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to once again thank former Lieutenant Murphy for his service and sacrifice during the horrific events of August 5, 2012,” said Raghuvinder. “It is empowering to share my father’s message of love and forgiveness, even in the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy. To this day, when I visit him and ask if he is still living in the spirit of chardi kala, he blinks twice—for ‘yes.’”
At the end of his remarks, Raghuvinder honored former Lieutenant Murphy with a canvas by a Sikh artist as well as a book: Turbans and Tales, which depicts the portraits featured in the critically-acclaimed Sikh Project photography exhibition by British photographers Amit and Naroop.
“We are grateful to Lieutenant Murphy for addressing our officers, and to the Sikh Coalition for joining us and facilitating Mr. Singh as a powerful speaker,” said Chief Christopher Leusner, President of NJSACOP and Chief of the Middle Township Police Department. “We know that cultural education and interpersonal interaction are key to helping all law enforcement officials better protect our diverse populations, and we thank the Sikh community for continuing to build bridges with their officers across the nation.”
The Sikh Coalition continues to help sangats from coast to coast engage their local law enforcement, whether via training individual community members to give Sikh awareness presentations to their police departments or undertaking direct efforts in cultural competency training like our engagement with the Bergen County Sheriff’s office in New Jersey. This proactive outreach is critical to strengthening the bonds between Sikh Americans and their neighbors in law enforcement—bonds that are exemplified by the service and sacrifice of heroes like former Lieutenant Murphy.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.