Sikh Americans show solidarity after gurdwara tragedy

August 7th, 2012 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 7 (IANS) Deeply shocked by the killing of six Sikh worshipers in a gurdwara in Milwaukee, the anguished community has sought concrete action to ensure that such tragedies don’t repeatedly come back to haunt them.

United Sikhs, a UN affiliated non-profit organization, has sent a task force to Milwaukee to support the impacted families and work with law enforcement agencies in the United States to ensure that the Sikh community is reassured of its safety.

The organisation has also called on the interfaith community to show solidarity by holding prayer vigils in places of worship and is releasing a community safety kit for Sikh gurdwaras on how to handle such disasters, according to United Sikhs director Jatinder Singh.

It has also set up a national helpline for the victims of the tragedy, who may call 1-855-US-UMEED for help.

The community group has advised Sikhs and all other minorities who suffer racial profiling and hate crimes to immediately report these incidents.

The group said it has and will continue to push for funding and creation of programmes that allow the American communities at large to be educated on the diaspora of immigrant communities like the Sikhs.

“Sikhs in America cannot afford to have more examples of such wanton violence. Such senseless acts have to stop, NOW!” United Sikhs said.

Several Sikh organizations like the Sikh Coalition, Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF), United Sikhs, and Sikh Research Institute are coordinating their efforts to provide a unified response.

A fund to help the affected has been initiated. The local Wisconsin community will be leading the distribution of funds directly to families most impacted, the Sikh Coalition said.

The coalition has proposed that Sikh-Americans across the nation organize interfaith candlelight vigils within their respective communities in remembrance for the victims and their families on Aug 8.

The Sikh Coalition has also put on its website talking points about Sikhism, post 9/11 incidents and what people can do to help the victims and their families and asked the community members to talk to neighbours, friends, neighbourhood groups, colleagues, and local media about issues affecting the community.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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