Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the American-Sikh Congressional Caucus, will join colleagues tomorrow in introducing a resolution commemorating the one-year anniversary of the hate-based shooting at a Gurdwara -- a Sikh place of worship -- in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
On August 5, 2012, an armed gunman walked into the Oak Creek Gurdwara and opened fire, severely injuring four and killing six, including the head of the temple. Rep. Grijalva participated in an interfaith healing event at Tucson's Khalsa Montessori School one week later.
"This country has a long history -- sometimes slow, sometimes painful -- of overcoming hatred, prejudice and fear," Rep. Grijalva said. "So many Americans believe in diversity and tolerance as sources of strength that we can forget how strong feelings can be on the other side. The right response is not to fight anger with anger. It is to set a more worthwhile example. Congress has a chance to do that tomorrow."
The American-Sikh Congressional Caucus was founded in Aprilof this year to better represent the Sikh community across the country. Members of the Sikh community have faced growing discrimination and persecution, especially by those who mistakenly associate Sikhs with the 9/11 attacks.
The language of the resolution is below.
Whereas, on Sunday, August 5, 2012, a mass shooting took place fueled by intolerance killing six worshipers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, a Gurdwara, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin;
Whereas, the attack occurred as members of the congregation prepared langar, a free community meal served to all visitors to Gurdwaras, regardless of their race, religion, sex, or social background;
Whereas, four individuals were injured including a responding officer, Lt. Brian Murphy, who was shot fifteen times at close range;
Whereas, Lt. Brian Murphy and all first responders to the Oak Creek Gurdwara, demonstrated great courage in their quick response to the shooting, ultimately saving lives;
Whereas, American Sikhs have endured high levels of stereotyping, bullying, and violence, all of which rose dramatically in the wake of the September 11th attacks;
Whereas, the Associated Press reported that more than 700 such incidents of intolerance targeting American Sikhs took place over the last decade;
Whereas, the Oak Creek shooting was one of the most lethal attacks on an American place of worship since the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and another sad example of violence and intolerance against Sikhs;
Whereas, the Sikh community responded to the shooting in Oak Creek with compassion, and stayed true to the Sikh principle of Chardi Kala, remaining in high spirits;
Whereas, although the effects of this shooting will be felt for years to come, the Oak Creek community will continue to overcome the tragedy and become stronger than before with a renewed sense of oneness, understanding, and cooperation;
Whereas, the August 5, 2012 shooting was not just a Sikh tragedy, but an American tragedy: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific attack which occurred at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, 2012;
(2) honors the memory of Suveg Singh Khattra, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh, Paramjit Kaur, and Prakash Singh who died in the attack;
(3) offers its heartfelt condolences to their families, friends, and loved ones of those who died in the attack;
(4) applauds the bravery of Lt. Brian Murphy and other first responders who prevented the gunman from potentially taking more lives and quickly treated wounded individuals and,
5) condemns intolerance, including religious and racial discrimination, and calls for continued vigilance against violence.