2012 Wisconsin gurdwara shooting commemorated in 18 US cities

Washington/New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) A US-based Sikh organisation observed an annual day of seva (service) across 18 cities to comemorate the 2012 Wisconsin gurdwara shooting.

Six people were shot dead at the Oak Creek city gurdwara in Milwaukee county, Wisconsin, on August 5, 2012. The gunman was later killed and the incident was deemed a hate crime.

The Sikh Coalition — a community-based organisation that works toward the realisation of civil and human rights — organised the commemoration on Sunday.

“When a tragedy like this occurs, the Sikh community feels the pain and suffering that comes from an attack born of hate. We want people to see that this type of attack is not just an attack against one community, it is an attack against all of us,” Harjit Kaur, the seva coordinator, told IANS.

“The anguish we felt after the Oak Creek Massacre has since transformed into a call for action to end hate,” she added.

The coalition organised the “Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Walk and Run” in Oak Creek on Sunday.

“The Sikh spirit of chardi kala or eternal optimism inspires Sikhs to stay strong even in the face of hate,” Jasvir Singh, participant in Detroit’s Day of Seva event, said.

“It is what motivates us to combat hate with love and seva, to remain positive and to keep working toward a tomorrow that recognises all beings as one human race. This feeling is ingrained in our seva,” Singh added.

The organisation also took up the annual Morning Side Park clean up in New York city.

“Our annual park clean up in New York has been an incredible pleasure over the past two years. It is always heartening to have bystanders stop and ask about our motivation for the ‘Day of Seva’ and strive to learn more about Sikhism,” Satjeet Kaur, director of development and communications for the Sikh Coalition, informed.

“Seeing others’ eagerness to join in the service we are doing demonstrates that seva is a great way to engage both Sikhs and non-Sikhs across the country,” she noted.

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