Wisconsin Gurdwara shootings is our latest watershed moment

Sikh history suffers no shortage of watershed moments – those instances in time after which everything changes. In recent history for Sikhs, the year 1984 was one of those times; 9/11 and its backlash was another. And now, Sunday, August 5, 2012 takes its place on that timeline.

This first day after the shooting attack of the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin has been an emotional day.

As I have attempted to keep up with the developing news of the attack, I have also been busy providing information and interviews to various reporters and bloggers throughout the day (I was interviewed for a Religion News Service article this morning, and have been working on pieces for other websites). To be contacted by media was not something I expected, but I am most willing to offer myself as a resource to whomever I can be of help.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those in Wisconsin who have been directly affected by the attack. My prayers continue to extend to the victims, whose names have been made public:

Seeta Singh
Parkash Singh
Satwant Singh Kaleka (the president of the Gurdwara who attempted to thwart the attack)
Ranjit Singh
Suveg Singh
Parmjit Kaur

I also pray for the recovery of three critically wounded: Bhai Punjab Singh, Santokh Singh, and Lieutenant Brian Murphy, the heroic Oak Creek Police officer who was shot multiple times by the attacker. And, my appreciation goes to individuals within various Sikh organizations, volunteers, bloggers, representatives of the community and members of the media who have worked diligently in support of the Wisconsin Sikh community in the aftermath and who have continued to report on the story.

The day has flown by and has left me little time to discuss the shooting and its impact on our community on this blog. When I first started writing in this forum in October 2010, I couldn’t have foreseen that this “discussion about the Sikh American experience” would someday be so monumental as it now has become. Today, I am lacking in furthering the discussion in light of the events in Wisconsin, but I know that others in our community and in the media have admirably taken on that responsibility.

Some websites provide useful resources for those interested in offering their support.

The blog Kaurista is maintaining a calendar of candlelight vigils taking place in cities across the United States, which you can use to find one in your community.

The blog The Langar Hall has posted a variety of resources and information in relation to the tragedy.

To make a donation in support of the victims, two online campaigns have been initiated: Support the Milwaukee Shooting Victims and We Are Sikhs. Donations can also be made to the Tri City National Bank in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, by calling (414) 761-1610.

It is no exaggeration to state that what it means to be a Sikh in this country changed yesterday. Certainly for the victims, their lives will never be the same. Let us see how this change will manifest in the days, months and years to come, and how we may chart our course through it as a people.


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