Vigil & prayers at Walnut gurudwara

(Pics: Harvir Singh Bhatti)

On August 5, the world for Sikhs across America was abruptly shaken. There was fear, confusion and most of all frustration. Six Sikhs were murdered in their place of worship, Gurudwara, while participating in their daily prayers.
The catastrophic shooting occurred in Oak Creek, Wisconsin while morning prayers were being conducted. In light of the shooting Sikhs have proven once again that they stand as a strong community that supports each other during their times of devastation. There have been multiple prayers and candle light vigils held nation-wide including in California.
On Wednesday August 8, at Walnut Gurudwara prayers and a candle light vigil were held in order to honor the victims of the shooting. It began promptly at 6:30 pm and included many beautiful shabads and speakers of different faiths, including Judaism and Islam.
The theme throughout the program was unity and equality between all faiths. In order to accomplish this, the gurudwara invited members of mosques and synagogues to come and pray with them. The attendees were blessed with a Jewish hymn and kind words from many non-Sikhs who expressed their grief about the hate crime.
The representation of members of different faiths helped spread a feeling of respect for people of all faiths. This is the first time that many of those in attendance had been able to experience an atmosphere where all faiths were being respected at the same level. There was a sense of peace that had settled deep into the event.
After the prayers had been completed everyone proceeded to surround the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag, with lit candles in their hands and a look of hope on their faces.
A candle light vigil is a universal sign of respect and a visual representation of a community coming together to show support and respect for one another. During the ceremony a short prayer was conducted in English in order to honor the departed. It was followed by a moment of silence and reflection. This was a well organized and meaningful community effort and it served a very noble purpose, to show respect and remember those who have lost their lives due to misplaced hate.

Navie Cheema

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