We Are All Sikhs Today

We Are All Sikhs Today

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.



46 thoughts on “We Are All Sikhs Today”

  • My heart and prayers are with the Sikh community. And I agree that it is a tragedy for all of us regardless of our faith traditions or worldviews. This was a senseless taking of life. Here are prayers to surround the people whose lives have been changed forever by this murderous act. May divine grace bring healing, compassion and understanding to our wounded world.

    • My prayers go out to the whole Sikh community. I am sickened by this violence. Please know that many, many fellow Americans are heartbroken that your community has had to suffer at the hands of this madman.

      Jane Twomey

  • My heart goes out to you and to all your brothers and sisters in the Sikh faith — and to all the rest of us in a nation, a world, that are lessened by such events.

  • What a horrible day, and I am deeply sorry for the losses to this community. Maybe if Americans would broaden their concept of all people – including Muslims, Jews, etc. – we could tackle some of this from extremists. It’s ignorance + hate + guns. My heart bleeds. We need gun control – now – and force our presidential candidates to talk and talk and talk and tell us what they plan to do. And do it. Meanwhile, I am so sorry.

  • For such a peaceful community to experience such violence speaks to all American hearts. God bless the Shikhs. I am praying for you

  • I’m saddend by this tragic event, though I’m not sure I want to change my last name to Singh đŸ˜‰ I can only wonder why people can’t get along with one another. The world should be big enough for all of us.

  • May the One is is Ever-Present comfort you and the entire Sikh community among all those who mourn. The prayers of your Jewish brothers and sisters are with you.

  • Thank you for writing this, we all share the same pain. We Canadians are with our brothers and sisters across the border. This kind of tragedy is not only limited to one community, we as human society have suffered these attrocities inflicted by some idiots. There is no limit to human stupidity and idiocrcy…. We can do our best to be aware and wakened our conscious….

  • Dear Ms. Kaur, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Sikh-American communities across our nation,

    May you be safe and free from harm.
    May you be free from fear and once again have peace and joy in your minds and hearts.
    Please accept my deepest condolences for your shock and horror over today’s shootings and your grief for the loss of your loved ones. May we all aspire to transform our unskillful habits of thinking and action so that we can realize peace and justice for all beings.

    Namaste,
    S. G. Fleck

  • There is not a single word in any language that can describe the absolute disdain I have for those who leave their mark on this world through acts of cowardice such as this! I doubt that placing any combination of them together will suffice either. To those victimized by these individuals I pray for your continued strength to be there for each other as you make your way through this trying time in your lives. Your loss is immeasurable but together you will find your strength to be as well. I would imagine in a situation like this there would be those who want to know why someone would do something like this?
    There is no answer that will justify their actions. No reason that could take away the emptiness felt from your loss. These are only the acts of very sick beings! Fear, and the hurt you feel is their goal. Be strong for one another! Take away some of that pain, and through each other diminish what these acts try to accomplish. Know that as human beings, regardless of race or religious beliefs, there are more of us who feel your pain, your loss, your anger, than there are who wish to cause it. Do not dignify these acts with feelings of fear. Instead , reach out to each other and feel the strength you possess that these individuals try to take from you through these sick, selfish actions. We are all in this together whether we realize it or not. May you and your families find peace in each other and may you find the love from all of us there with you in thought and prayer.

  • Please know that we stand with you in thought and prayer! With you we will work for healing and hope. Our commitment, like yours, is to a world without violence. May God’s amazing grace be with you, and with all of us, as together we work for peace.
    In solidarity with all Sikhs and with all who work for interreligious understanding!
    Kathleen and David Hurty

  • Such a shame. Whilst all religions should be welcomed, it must be noted that the Sikhs are (on the whole) peaceful people who have a history of assisting the western world.

  • I read this yesterday while browsing BBC, and I was shocked and saddened beyond belief. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and survivors of those who lost their life. And hoping for a quick recovery for those who were injured in the incident.

    Police officials have not commented publicly on possible motives only some hints about being taken for someone else’s identity. A theme that resonates through similar incidents that have takes place where someone was shot at or physically abused just because of the piece of clothing they were wearing or personal grooming was stereotyped by the mass media to represent a symbol of terror.

    But this ignorance is not just confined to white extremists; this holds true amongst all racial groups even within those in the Sikh community. We all have our own perspectives of other people that aren’t correct.

    From my personal viewpoint, I have presumptions about others that are based on what I read in newspapers, magazine, seen on TV, heard on radio or heard from others within my own family.

    Even though I have personal differences of opinion with others, yet I never bring that bias when making a decision about someone from a particular racial group.

    But unfortunately most people aren’t like that. I lived in NY for a brief period of my life and had a few personal encounters with a Sikh who had a shop in Manhattan. I noticed, he too had a difference of opinions towards someone who was a Muslim (even though the only thing Muslim about me is that I was born in a Muslim family, nothing more) and had origins in the Sub-continent.

    This experience was even more stressing when I encountered another Sikh man this time the location was London, yet the common theme was that both males had their own biases towards Muslims from South Asia.

  • It is a very sad thing to happen against any community. Sikh or Muslim, these acts of violence are dispicable. My prayers, heart and condolences go out to the families of the deceased and injured, as well as those who were terrorized by this aweful act.

  • We are all Sikhs today. Our hearts and minds as one. Our communities must have the courage to address this issue together.

  • Know that the entire Sikh community continues to be in my thoughts and prayers. May peace prevail and goodness prevail.

  • My prayers go out to you – my heart breaks with you. Thank you for living the truths you hold dear in your reflections and responses. When will those who profess other faiths rooted in compassion and hope start to live theirs? I am so saddened, and so sorry for this tragic and senseless loss.
    May God bless you and the Sikh Americans.

  • I could not agree more with what you stated in your CNN article. I am from the area where this occurred. I have driven past the gurdwara countless times. I have worked alongside sikh doctors. I am so sorry that this occurred and am embarassed for the ignorance members of my race act upon- not just this past Sunday, but ever. Please know that we are with your today and always.

  • My heart is breaking for the Sikh community. I am Caucasian, I am middle-age, I am Protestant. And I want to somehow reach out to my Sikh brothers and sisters and give them my condolences in their time of grieving. Can you tell me how to best reach the members of the temple involved in the shooting and send them my offer of sympathy? I so want them to know that there are a lot of us in American who love and respect them and wish them no harm.

  • “This morning’s shooting is a tragedy not only for Sikh Americans but for all Americans.” You are right. I am horrified and heartbroken to read about what has happened. This is not much, I realize, but I want to say that, as an American and a human being, I stand with Sikh Americans.

  • As your fellow American, I am so incredibly saddened by what has befallen your peaceful community. Please know that the number of us who send you our love and support vastly outnumber those with negative thoughts or intentions towards any group that is simply trying to practice peaceful worship. We love you!

  • My heart goes out to the Sikhs of Milwaukee, and to the whole Sikh community. I feel a special connection with Sikhs, as I lived in Kapurthala, Punjab for over 2 years, from 1968 – 1971. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I had many Sikh and Hindu friends, and developed a love and appreciation of Punjabi culture. The good will, complete acceptance, and wonderful sense of humor stand out in my memory. Sat Sri Akal.
    -Ellen Greist

  • My heart goes out to all of the people affected by such senseless hate and ignorance. Real education
    involves self-responsibility and mutual respect, both qualities propounded by Guru Nanak in the causes of universal peace and equality. Sat Sri Akal.

  • Thank you, Valerie, for your important work.

    Rahuldeep Singh Gill
    Assistant Professor, Department of Religion
    California Lutheran University

  • My heart is filled with pain and I grieve for your losses. I’m a Christian, who loves and respects the Sikh’s in Milwaukee and all over the world. Today I am a Sikh. I have a deep and abiding love for all the people of our tiny planet no matter what their faith.

  • My heart is full of pain for the violence the Sikh’s in Milwaukee have suffered. I’m a Christian and today I’m also a Sikh. I love all the people of our tiny planet no matter their faith. My prayers are with you.

  • My heart goes out to the families who have lost their loved ones. I share pain and grief. senseless violence has caused.

    I pray for the families and community.

    May God be with you

  • This senseless act of a misdirected army veteran must not lead anyone to forming any negative impression about the Americans. There was a rally against American embassy in New Delhi. At the shooting sight, one white police official threw himself in the harm’s way to protect others and waived off help to save others’ lives.
    Rule of law is live and kicking in the United States and so justice will prevail.

  • My heart goes out to the Sikh community here in the United States and throughout the world. This horrendous act is an assault on our fundamentals values as Americans. Religious freedom is a founding principle of our nation. Indeed, as Valarie Kaur has written, “We are all Sikhs Today” and everyday.

    May we as a nation show our love and compassion for the Sikh community as we have for those in Aurora. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. May peace be with you.

  • I am deeply saddened by this action and I pray that God grants peace to those who suffered such an unspeakable horror. I am in utter shock that this happened. We are not safe in our own houses — of worship. Soon, we will not be safe in our own house because of who we are or who we worship. Yes, we are all Sikhs today and for many tomorrows because of the hate crimes since 9/11 by the truly ungodly and ignorant.

  • It was really hard for me to absorb this,that why happen to our small and close net community which strive to serve entire humankind regardless back ground, color or looks,
    I was bit angry as well, but the way American citizen and Government responded to this shocking act. I am really want say Thank you for your support and take things serious, I hope by learning about each other we can become better humankind and also good citizen and neighbors, Can I ask media to learn lesson from recent violence and stop preaching a hate between communities but work for humanitarian causes.
    Regards
    Raghbir Mander

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