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UNITED SIKHS in the NEWS

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver
Larissa Cahute Vancouver, October 24, 2014

 

Larissa Cahute Vancouver, October 24, 2014:- Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to "end the silence on violence" to Vancouver this weekend.

UK-based organisation United Sikhs is hosting its second "Good Will Walk" in Stanley Park on Saturday in an attempt to spark a dialogue on violence.

While the first "Good Will Walk" was held in May in Malaysia and dedicated to the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, this weekend's walk is taking on a broader issue and has been dubbed the "Good Will Walk against Violence".

While in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of India's 1984 Sikh genocide, which saw thousands of men and boys murdered, women raped and their properties looted and burned by mobs in politically supported violence, the event is targeting the overarching issue of violence in today's society - be it youth, gang, or domestic.

"The Sikh community wants to move on in a way that we want to remember our experience (in 1984) by actually making a point about why violence is bad as opposed to just crying over it," said Mejindarpal Kaur of United Sikhs, adding "We feel that we should take the issue to a high moral ground."



Sikhs participating in "Good Will Walk" in Stanley Park.Photo credits: Facebook

According to Kaur, "violence has become so blasé a term" that it's commonplace for people to watch "gory scenes" on the morning news without batting an eye.

"It used to be that the BBC would say, 'Turn away if you don't want to see blood' - and today blood is the norm," said Kaur, adding, "We're so laid back about violence. It's time for that silence to be broken and spoken about."

Instead of hosting a conference with speakers and experts, United Sikhs has decided to host another walk, so as to initiate real dialogues between participants in which Kaur expects various communities to bring forward unique messages based on their own experiences with violence.

"For example, Metro Vancouver's Progressive Inter-cultural Community Services has partnered with United Sikhs for the event in an effort to combat violence against women in general," said CEO Charan Pal Singh, adding, "Women have not been treated equally - they should be respected and we should give them equal treatment and social justice."

"We're using the walk as a mechanism in order to communicate," said Kaur, adding she hoped it would become an annual event in Vancouver, so that the discussion moved beyond specific incidents.

"When there's a particular murder, a lot of time is spent consoling that particular family, which naturally should be done," she said, adding, "But the 'Good Will Walk against Violence' is a way to bring the discussion to a higher level and say we are against violence past the consolation point."

"We want to create awareness that this is the way for communities to communicate," she said.

The "Good Will Walk against Violence" will take place from 11 am to 2 pm, beginning at the totem poles in Stanley Park and ending at Coal Harbour's Komagata Maru memorial site, where speakers, including Langara professor Indira Prahst and domestic violence survivor Kam Dhillon will share their thoughts on the issue.

People can register for the walk at unitedsikhs.org/gww/register.