Richmond community and religious leaders unite to hold vigil for Sikh victims of mass shooting in Indianapolis
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – The Indianapolis mass shooting on April 15 at a FedEx facility saw eight people killed and four of them were from the Sikh community. In the Richmond area, the Central Virginia Sikh Association held a vigil to honor the victims.
Many faith groups came together in unity to support the Sikh community after the Indianapolis tragedy.
Sikhism has three core values: believing in God, living from hard work, and sharing with those less fortunate. On Saturday, all of these values were expressed as they mourn the loss of those in their community.
Prayers, hymns and conversations were held to illuminate and make sense of the lives lost.
A volunteer read the names of the eight names killed in the tragedy, not just those from the Sikh religion.
Volunteers at the vigil, like Bimaljit Singh, said these tragic incidents of gun violence and hate must end and he called on the police to investigate the Indianapolis incident as a racial attack.
“It just makes those injuries ripe again,” Singh said. “We went through this in 2012. There was a shooting in Old Creek Gurdwara, Wisconsin in 2012. The pain we suffered from the hatred… it makes all the old wounds raw.
Dr Bimaljit Singh led the vigil on Saturday and stepped onto the podium to introduce several state delegates. He said Sikhs just want to belong to the community they live in.
“We are adults, we can do it on our own,” Singh said. “But we shouldn’t be managing ourselves in this free democratic country. We should live as freely, as proudly as Americans. “
Inderpreet Singh, another volunteer, said the incidents in Indianapolis were “shocking.”
“We are Americans. We look different. We feel like we are part of this community,” Singh said. “They are our brothers and sisters and we are all together in this area.”
Representative Abigail Spanberger, VA-07, and other local community leaders such as State Senator Ghazala Hashmi were in attendance. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a video to express his condolences.
“Whenever there is some kind of crisis, the Sikh community reacts,” Spanberger said. “When there was a shortage of PPE, the Sikh community in central Virginia arranged for masks and delivered them to first responders and hospitals.”
Spanberger said unity was the only way to escape tragedy.
“We have to stand together against the hate that created the most recent mass murder in Indianapolis or the earlier mass murder in Atlanta and the list goes on and on,” said Spanberger.
“Charhdi Kala. It is a feeling of good humor, even in the darkest of darkness. “
Dr Bimaljit Singh