Sikh shrines focus on community education on remembrance day

OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) – Prayers are continuing at the Sikh Temple, Wisconsin as they pay their respects to seven people killed there in 2012 by a gunman who committed a hate crime.

Organizers say it’s all about promoting cultural understanding to prevent such things from happening again.

Hundreds of people came on Saturday, August 6, sharing food, chatting, and receiving temple tours.

Sharan Singh, program manager for National Sikh Advocacy Organization SALDEF, said: “One of the problems we face as a community is that we don’t have enough people who understand our followers. Who is Sikhism?

She said while we don’t live in the same world 10 years ago when the mass shootings happened, or the post-9/11 world where Sikhs were attacked the way they looked, there are still dangers. dangerous for Sikh Americans.

“We are more aware of the situation than we were 10 years ago,” Singh said.

That’s why an important component of events like these is education, she says.

“So people don’t have prejudice and don’t have any misconceptions about our community,” Singh said.

She says they invite people into their temple, or gurdwara, to learn about their religion, which she says began in India 500 years ago from Hinduism, and focuses on gender equality. , justice and community.

To enter the gurdwara, people take off their shoes and cover their hair.

“We really enjoyed getting to know some of the people when we got here who had welcome tents and hats for us and welcomed us in,” said Nicole Hermann. speak.

Nicole and husband Jim Hermann experienced the temple on Saturday – saw their holy reading in progress, which is expected to end around noon on Sunday, August 7, and shared their food.

They say it has changed their view of the Sikhs they live nearby.

“Now I feel like I know a little more about our neighbours,” says Nicole.

“I feel we can reach them more and instead of just waving, have more in common to talk,” says Jim.

Singh said she hopes more and more people understand to prevent hate from spreading.

“It really means a lot, I know for the families, the victims, for the community here and the community at large, to know that people care about our community’s well-being. me and also for everyone’s happiness in general.

If you’re interested in going out on your own and experiencing all of this, the event continues tomorrow,” Singh said.

If you want to learn more about their religion, the event will continue on Sunday, August 7.

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