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The Sikh Coalition News
January 14, 2020
  • Responding to Vandalism at a California Gurdwara

    January 14, 2020 (Orangevale, CA) – Sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, the Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara Sahib in Orangevale, CA was vandalized with white nationalist graffiti. The graffiti included the phrase, “WHITE POWER,” and depicted a swastika on a concrete slab that is to serve as the sign in front of the newly-opened gurdwara.

    “We were shocked and saddened to discover this hateful message, because no group should ever be the target of this kind of bigotry,” said Orangevale Sikh community member Dimple Bhullar. “The Sikh community has been an integral part of California for 125 years, and we won’t let this divide or silence us now.”

    The graffiti was discovered early Monday morning by a neighbor, and gurdwara leadership and law enforcement were immediately alerted. Since then, the gurdwara has retained the Sikh Coalition to assist in the case. As of now, there has been no arrest, but our organization continues to engage with local law enforcement to ensure that state and federal agencies are taking every appropriate action in response to this hate crime.

    “We are grateful to local law enforcement for responding quickly to this ugly vandalism,” said Sikh Coalition Senior Staff Attorney Cindy Nesbit. “No community should ever feel unsafe in their house of worship, and it is essential that this case be investigated as a hate crime given the clear white nationalist rhetoric.”

    Many people across the nation have reached out to express their solidarity with the Orangevale Sikh community. You too can take action now by sending your own message of support directly to the Orangevale sangat.

    The Sikh Coalition is also providing rapid communications support to raise awareness in local and national media outlets and ensure respectful and responsible reporting. Already, this work has resulted in successful media coverage in local FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC affiliates, in addition to the Sacramento Bee and Newsweek. Our outreach to state- and national-level elected officials has also already resulted in bipartisan condemnation of this bigotry, and we are working in coordination with gurdwara leadership to plan a community-wide solidarity event soon.

    We will continue to provide more updates on this case as they become available. In the meantime, we encourage you to be aware of your surroundings and know your rights. Download our FAQ on hate crimes and hate speech and learn how to report incidents to authorities and the Sikh Coalition. Also, ask your gurdwara if they have proactively worked with the Sikh Coalition to make the gurdwara safer; if not, please share our Gurdwara Security Toolkit and email us at community@sikhcoalition.org for a free consultation in English or Punjabi.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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