Interfaith Vigils Tomorrow Honoring Victims of Oak Creek Massacre
August 7, 2012 by Deena Fidas, Director of the Workplace Equality Program
Tomorrow, the Sikh Coalition is coordinating a nationwide remembrance for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting at a temple in Wisconsin.
While the exact circumstances and motives of the shooter are not yet fully known, the chilling, devastating reality is that innocent men, women and children were targeted as they simply tried to go about their lives, being who they are, worshipping as is their right in our country.
Many of us in the civil rights and advocacy community talk about crimes against one or some of us amounting to crimes against all of us. What does this mean in terms of our practical reality and our shared interests?
It means that when we in the LGBT community correct misconceptions about us – who we are, what we look like, whether or not we are entitled to the same rights as anyone else – there is a direct connection to the work of organizations like the Sikh Coalition, representing a community often misunderstood and targeted for profiling, discrimination, and even hate crimes.
It means that as we seek to break down stereotypes in schools, in the workplace and in other institutions, we are in partnership.
The notion that someone can be a target not just for who they are – but even who they are mistaken to be – be that Muslim, Arab, Sikh, Straight, Gay or Transgender, is an ongoing concern and challenge before all of us. And yet, there is hope. There is hope in even these dark moments, that the violence, the ignorance and the hate will not define us or prevail over our shared causes of equal rights for all communities – across lines of faith, ethnicity, religion, immigration status and more.
In the words of the Sikh Coalition’s Dirctor of Law and Policy, Rajdeep Singh:
The Sikh Coalition is a proud friend of the Human Rights Campaign and supports equal rights for all Americans. We shouldn't allow fear to govern our lives. All of us have to continue to hold our heads up high, be proud of who we are, and celebrate the pluralism that defines and enriches our nation.
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