This morning’s shooting is a tragedy not only for Sikh Americans but for all Americans. The Sikh community gathered to pray on a Sunday morning just like millions of Americans in churches across the country. The terrible loss of life so recently after the shootings in Aurora violates our deepest values.
The grief runs especially deep for Sikh Americans. We see our own gurdwara on the television screen; we imagine our own aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, caught in the gunfire. As a Sikh American whose family has lived in California for 100 years, I can’t shake the deep sadness and grief. I’ve spent the last decade documenting hate violence against the Sikh community since 9/11, and although we don’t yet know the motive, the event is sending the same kind of shock waves through the entire community.
Whether or not the shooting was a hate crime, every expression of love and support — every candle, every message, every prayer — will be felt not only by the Sikh community in Milwaukee but Sikh Americans across the country. It’s time for all Americans to come together in a groundswell of healing, hope, and renewed commitment to a world without violence.