Friday, August 10, 2012

Oak Creek

Sikh Coalition Responds To Tragic Shooting in Wisconsin

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Sapreet Kaur: sapreet@sikhcoalition.org212-655-3095 x 81 (will be forwarded to cell)
Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org212-655-3095 x 83 (will be forwarded to cell)

























(New York, New York) August 5, 2012 – The Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh American civil rights organization in the U.S., has started an emergency response in the wake of the tragic shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this morning.

With multiple news outlets reporting varying facts on what transpired at the Sikh temple (or Gurdwara) earlier today it remains clear that this story remains an evolving and fluid situation.
“The Sikh Coalition’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the shooting, the Sikh community of Milwaukee, and the larger community of Wisconsin, which we know will stand with their Sikh neighbors with their support and prayers during this very trying time,” said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.

The Gudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin was founded in 1997 and had over 400 peaceful worshipers that worked and lived in the greater Milwaukee area. The Gudwara, known as being a wonderful neighbor, had come to represent the valued contributions of the Sikh faith in a community where Sikhism was understood to be another contributing fabric in the cloth of American plurality.
"I just want to say this temple was built a number of years ago and there have never been any problems with this temple," Oak Creek Alderman Dan Jakubczyk said. "They've been a plus to this city and to my district.”

With over 25 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with over 500,000 followers in the U.S. For more information on Sikhism please visit our website here.
The Sikh Coaliton has been in touch with both the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the White House and both have promised to continue to be in touch with our staff as they monitor the situation closely. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition is in direct contact with a Trustee of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in order to learn more about the shooting before taking further action.

“There have been multiple hate crime shootings within the Sikh community in recent years and the natural impulse of our community is to unfortunately assume the same in this case. Let’s let law enforcement investigate the case and as new facts emerge the dialogue can change. Americans died today in a senseless act of violence and Americans of all faiths should stand in unified support with their Sikh brothers and sisters,” said Sapreet Kaur.

The Sikh Coalition has experts available for commentary on Sikhism, Sikh civic engagement, and past incidents of violence directed against Sikhs both in New York and in Washington D.C. For all media inquires please contact Sapreet Kaur: sapreet@sikhcoalition.org, 212-655-3095 x81 or or Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, 212-655-3095 x83 and somebody will get back to you within 30 minutes.

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Americans Stand Together As New Details Emerge on Wisconsin Shooting Suspect
For Immediate Release
Primary contact: Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, 646-845-0630.
Secondary contact: Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, (917) 628-0091

(New York, New York) August 6, 2012 – As details on this tragic shooting and the suspected shooter continue to emerge, law enforcement officials have formally moved to investigate the case as an act of domestic terrorism.

“We are mindful that law enforcement officials have not yet identified the tragic shooting in Wisconsin today as a hate crime,” said Sikh Coalition's Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur. “However, as the focus of the investigation shifts attention to this possible motive, we want to thank Americans of all faiths and backgrounds for standing with the Sikh community in deploring this act of violence. We encourage your continued support of the Sikh Americans, who are both grieving this great loss and fearful of similar hate aimed at their family members and places of worship.”

Both President Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney have stated in recent hours that they “join Americans everywhere in mourning those who lost their lives” and “that the American people have (the victims) in our thoughts and prayers.”

The outpouring of support and solidarity is also coming from local Milwaukee faith based organizations, including Milwaukee’s Archbishop Jerome Listecki, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, which have all declared their solidarity in the wake of this act of violence.

“Tonight we are praying for all of the victims, including the courageous officer involved in the shooting, and mourning this senseless loss of innocent lives. We cannot answer all the questions today about why this shooting happened, but we know that with great tragedy comes great responsibility to have a national conversation about the importance of religious diversity. No community should ever be terrorized because of its faith.” said Kaur.

The Sikh Coaliton continues to be in contact with both the FBI’s Civil Rights Division and the White House. Both have promised to continue to be in touch with our staff as they monitor the situation closely. Additionally, the Sikh Coalition will be flying to Wisconsin on Monday and will be available for media inquiries in New York, Washington D.C., and Milwaukee.

The Sikh Coalition has experts available for commentary on Sikhism, Sikh civic engagement, and past incidents of violence directed against Sikhs.

For all media inquires please contact Satjeet Kaur: satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, (646)-845-0630 or Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, (917) 628-0091 and somebody will get back to you within 30 minutes.

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 Sikh Community Responds To Evolving Revelations Behind Wisconsin Shooting

For Immediate Release

Primary contact: Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, 646-845-0630.

Secondary contact: Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, 917-628-0091

(New York, New York) August 6, 2012 – As new information about the confirmed shooter emerges, the focus around the tragic shooting has quickly evolved into examining the motivations behind the shooting. New details reported this morning identify the shooter as Wade Michael Page. Page, a 40-year old discharged veteran had reported links to a racist band and at least one Neo-Nazi organization.

“While we continue to be cautious about rushing to judgment, it is important to note that this is only one of a growing number of incidents of violence that Sikhs have experienced in recent years. Freedom of religion is a fundamental tenet of democracy and it’s incredibly sad that victims were shot down while exercising that right in the peace of their Gurdwara,” said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.

“As we continue to struggle with what happened and support victims and their families, we hope America will be as outraged as we are and urge leaders to take steps to do more to prevent these crimes, promote tolerance and protect the rights of all people,” said Ms. Kaur.

The Sikh Coalition, partnering with other leading organizations on the ground in Milwaukee, have set up a fund to support the victims and their families and urge Americans of all faiths to stand with the Sikh community in solidarity. To make a tax-deductible contribution visit the website here.

“Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and we continue to be grateful for the bravery and quick action of police officers that responded and the agencies currently involved in getting to the bottom of this case,” said Kaur.

The Sikh Coalition has experts available for commentary on Sikhism, Sikh civic engagement, and past incidents of violence directed against Sikhs and those experts are available in New York, Washington D.C., and Milwaukee today. For all media inquires please contact Satjeet Kaur: satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, (646) 845-0630 or Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, (917) 628-0091 and somebody will get back to you within 30 minutes.
 
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Sikh Community Invites Americans Nationwide to Join in Interfaith Vigil

For Immediate Release

Primary contact: Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, 646-845-0630.
Secondary contact: Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, 917-628-0091

 
(New York, New York) August 7, 2012 – The Sikh Coalition, in collaboration with local Sikh leaders and partner Sikh organizations, will be holding interfaith vigils across the country on the evening of Wednesday, August 8 in an effort to coordinate a nationwide invitation to a remembrance for the victims and their families of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara massacre.
 
“A crime like this should be condemned, regardless of what ethnic or religious group is targeted. The shooting is no less or more reprehensible if it was directed against Americans attending a mosque, synagogue, or church. This type of attack is not an attack on one community; it’s an attack on us all,” said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur.
 
“As our nation still struggles to comprehend what happened and we continue to support the victims and their families it’s important to send a clear and unified message to those who attempt to divide us with these senseless acts of violence. We will not be divided, we will find hope in a moment of great tragedy, and we will move forward in the belief that freedom of religion remains a fundamental tenet of our great democracy,” said Ms. Kaur.
 
The Sikh Coalition continues to partner with other leading organizations on the ground in Milwaukee to raise money for the families of the victims and for those who were seriously injured in the shooting. The fundraising effort raised thousands in the first 24-hours on Monday. “The outpouring of support from within the community and from around the nation has been tremendous. The local community will be leading the distribution of funds directly to those families impacted most by the deadly shootings with the goal of providing well needed relief in this time of crisis,” said Coalition’s co-founder Amardeep Singh, who is on the ground in Wisconsin this week.
 
For more media information about the vigils being planned around the country this week or to speak with one of the Sikh Coalition’s experts that remain available to members of the media please contact Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org (646) 845-0630 or Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org (917) 628-0091.
 
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[CURRENT PRESS RELEASE] Shooter’s White Supremacist Activity Leads Sikhs to Believe Attack was a Hate Crime

Primary contact: Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org, 646-845-0630.
Secondary contact: Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org, (917) 628-0091

(New York, New York) August 7, 2012 – As more information emerges about the white supremacist beliefs of Wade Michael Page, the shooter in Sunday's rampage in Wisconsin, many Sikhs and other engaged communities have come to the conclusion that his attack should be defined as a hate crime.

“While we understand that all the facts are yet to be determined, there is a growing consensus that hate was a significant motivator in what happened this past Sunday,“ said Executive Director, Sapreet Kaur. "It is tragic, but unfortunately not surprising, that the shooter specifically chose a place of worship to commit this massacre.  If, as it now seems, hate is confirmed as the motivation for what happened here, it is important that we redouble our collective efforts to build a nation where this type of racial and ethnic hate has no sanction,” said Ms. Kaur. 
The Sikh Coalition, in collaboration with local Sikh leaders and partner Sikh organizations, will hold interfaith vigils across the country on the evening of Wednesday, August 8 in an effort to coordinate a multi-faith nationwide remembrance for the victims and their families of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara massacre.

“As our nation still struggles to comprehend what happened and we continue to support the victims and their families it’s important to send a clear and unified message to those who attempt to divide us with these senseless acts of violence. We will not be divided, we will find hope in a moment of great tragedy, and we will move forward in the belief that freedom of religion remains a fundamental tenet of our great democracy,” said Ms. Kaur. 

For more media information about the vigils being planned around the country this week or to speak with one of the Sikh Coalition’s experts that remain available to members of the media please contact Satjeet Kaur; satjeet@sikhcoalition.org (646) 845-0630 or Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org (917) 628-0091.

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