Posts tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Attention:​Venue Change for Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes on September 19th

Community Update
Washington DC, DC: The Senate Judiciary Hearing on Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism is today,  Wednesday, September 19th at 2:30 pm (Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216 – Please note the location change). 

Even though the hearing is today, there are still many ways that your organization can show its support as well as resources to assist you.

1.       Attend the hearing and post-hearing press conference:  We need to pack the hearing room to emphasize the importance of these issues to all communities.  Also, a press conference will be held at approximately 4:30pm (immediately after the hearing) outside of the hearing room featuring allies supporting the hearing.  Please attend and encourage colleagues, local affiliates, and constituents to attend!  If you plan to attend, please fill out this RSVP form created by the Sikh Coalition so that we can get a sense of the number of people attending and the necessary space required.  If you cannot attend, you can also stream it here.

Continue reading ‘Attention:​Venue Change for Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes on September 19th’ »

CHARDI KALA: DISPATCHES FROM WISCONSIN – “Glowing Legacy”

“A GLOWING LEGACY”

“Babaji, wake up and open your eyes. Look, Dr. Sidhu has come over to visit you all the way from California. The entire sangat is waiting anxiously to hear a Katha from you.”

Raghuvinder Singh, Babaji Punjab Singh’s son, uttered these words as he held his hand. Babaji Punjab Singh, is a Katha-wachak and was present at the Wisconsin Gurdwara in that capacity when he was shot in the head. He remains in critical condition. 

My first interaction with both the sons, Raghuvinder Singh and Jaspreet Singh, had been over a phone call from California. I had helped interpret during a medical team meeting. Now, as I held Babaji’ hand, I could feel the love from everyone surrounding him.

As he massaged his father’s legs, Raghuvinder started telling me about the glowing legacy Babaji had created with his work. “Babaji always knew that spreading Waheguru’s message through Katha, was his calling. He took an early retirement from the Indian army so he could devote all to this work…. and he never looked back. He was a very patient and caring father and grandfather. My daughter misses him dearly and wants to be here with him.”

With Shabad playing in the background, I learned about the love and wisdom exuding from Babaji. He not only preached about living a good life, but he also made sure to incorporate healthy habits in his life as well. Babaji made his own meals, which mostly comprised of steamed vegetables and whole grain meals. He would get up early in the morning and walk eight miles. Raghuvinder smiles softly as he says, “ we were younger but we both had difficulty keeping pace with him. His face always exuded a glow.”

Upon being notified of the shooting, the sons immediately travelled to the United States to be by their fathers sideand to give him strength. Their mother, Mataji Kulwant Kaur, was unable to travel immediately because of her health. The UNITED SIKHS team in India met with her and gave her a cheque of Rs 50,000. Additionally, UNITED SIKHS representatives called upon the US ambassador in India to expedite the processing of her visa application. She arrived the day of my visit.

Mataji reminded me of my grandmother, as she sat on the ground with me talking about Babaji. “He called me the night before, I asked him to come back because my health was failing. He reminded me of his life’s purpose and promised he would be back when he was done with his work here. He told me to stay strong and take care of the family, especially making sure my pregnant daughter-in-law gets healthy food on time and is well taken care of. It was almost as if he was giving me instructions.”
As I hugged Mataji, I looked up at the sons who were looking tenderly at their mother. I felt peace in my heart, feeling the love, caring, and strength within the family. I ask all of you to keep this and all the families in your thoughts and prayers. May Waheguru bless everyone with peace and love.

– Dr. Seema Kaur, Regional Director, UNITED SIKHS

CHARDI KALA: UNITED SIKHS TEAM DISPATCHES FROM WISCONSIN

 “INCREDIBLE RESILIENCE”

As I sat at the Milwaukee Airport on August 19th, it felt like I was leaving my home. The Sikh community that I had met only a few days back had welcomed me into their hearts and homes, turning this complete stranger into a family member. It has taken me three days to be able to finally pen down my experiences. Not because I was unwilling to write; it was because the immensity of the emotions and personal loss made the act of writing so trivial.

What I will describe in these series of blogs will be stories of my personal journey with the members of the families that lost their loved ones and the incredible support from the Wisconsin Sikh community surrounding them. I hope that as you read these passages, you will begin to understand the deep personal pain felt by everyone following the senseless killing in Wisconsin. I also hope that these blogs will give you an insight into the tremendous resiliency, forgiveness and humility present within the Sikh community.

“Mother
I pray that you may have true peace and that God’s graces never cease; I pray your heart’s contentment too, may fill the years ahead of you.”

This heart wrenching message, from the sons to their mother, brought tears to my eyes as I read it. The sons, 20-year old Kamaljit Singh Saini and 18-year old Harpreet Singh Saini have placed this message on a plaque, placed on a memorial, at the site where their mother was killed. Paramjit Kaur Saini was the only woman killed in the senseless shooting on August 5th, at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Everyone describes Paramjit Kaur as a sweet, devout woman who came to the Gurdwara everyday to pray and help in the preparation of the Langar. She was sitting and praying in the Gurdwara the fatal day of the shooting. The site where she was shot now has a memorial with a large vase of flowers that get replaced diligently by the sons. “We both miss our mom a lot, it is strange not having her home when I come back from work” said Kamaljit Singh who works in addition to being a student at the local University. Even at this young of an age, I could see that he was mature beyond his years. As we talked, I learned how he had been supporting the family along with his mother and now has made Harpreet’s recovery his priority. Harpreet will be joining his older brother at the University in a few weeks and the two plan to live together.

As a mother of three, my heart cried as I began to understand the extent of all that has been lost. Sitting at the place where a mother was snatched from her sons, I prayed to Waheguru, to continue to bless these incredible boys with resilience and courage, as they embark on this new journey together.

-Dr. Seema Kaur, Regional Director, UNITED SIKHS

Sikhs Killed in USA Terror Attack on Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship)

Sikhs Killed in USA Terror Attack on Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship)

Dr Harcharan Gill, who was at the scene said, “The police response was quick but the paramedic team waited for almost two hours to go inside the Gurdwara building,  sensing the possibility of of another shooter, which was not the case. The community is in deep shock, we never thought that this could have happened with us.” Continue reading ‘Sikhs Killed in USA Terror Attack on Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship)’ »