Standing United Against Gun Violence

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MTT News Desk's picture


Dane County citizens who say they are alarmed by gun violence joined with the Sikh Society of Wisconsin in Middleton on Sunday of last week to commemorate the six worshipers who lost their lives one year ago to a white supremacist who opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.

The Sikh Society in Middleton, 6970 Century Ave., invited people of all faiths to join in remembering the victims in a service at its temple beginning at 1 p.m. and lasting approximately half an hour.  The service was followed by a two-mile walk along Century Avenue, continuing on to Allen Boulevard to University Avenue and St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church parking lot.  

“One deranged individual will not destroy the Sikh resolve to face every adversity with courage and peaceful means,” said Harry Brar, president of the Middleton temple. 

“We of the Sikh Society greatly appreciate the support of the entire community and wish to be a part of problem-solving with the entire community,” he added.  “Legislation is the modern sword of defense.”

Gurwattan Singh Mirapuri, the temple’s secretary, added: “The Sikhs believe that a good life is lived as part of a community, living honestly, caring for others, and serving all of humanity.  Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, explained how the foundations of Sikhism beliefs nurture mankind by practicing peace, harmony and love. Nanak says, ‘No one is my enemy.  No one is a foreigner. With all I am at peace.  God within us renders us incapable of hate and prejudice’.”

Members of Dane County Organizing for Action, which has made gun violence prevention a high priority, attended the Middleton service.   “We stand united in peace against gun violence.  Our right to live in this diverse country without fear of gunfire is every bit as important as the right to own a gun,” said Rebecca Alwin.

After the service, those in attendance led a walk on Century Avenue to honor those who died and to encourage citizens to call for what they say are sensible gun safety laws, including universal background checks. 

In Oak Creek and Milwaukee, other Sikh Memorial Anniversary events stretched from Friday to Monday.  They include a continuous recitation of Shri Guru Granth Sahib, a remembrance at the U.S. Federal Court House, a Chardi Kala 6K run/walk, a hymn event and tributes to the victims at the Oak Creek temple, a contemplative meditation and a community candlelight vigil.

The Wisconsin Council of Churches invited congregations to participate in a “Weekend of Unity” by lighting a candle in honor of gun violence victims, observing a moment of silence for the Sikh Temple shooting victims, ringing bells, talking about gun violence and peace, or holding a prayer vigil.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also issued a statement on the one-year anniversary of the shooting. “One year ago, in the wake of the senseless violence, our friends and neighbors in the Sikh community showed us the best way to respond to the tragedy was with love,” Walker said. “It is amazing that in the midst of so much personal loss, the greatness of American character shines through.” 


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