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Congressman Garamendi Introduces Resolution Commemorating Second Anniversary of Tragic Shooting at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin

July 31, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC- With the second anniversary of the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5th, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), a co-chair of the Congressional American Sikh Caucus, jointly introduced House Resolution 698 with other Caucus co-chairs in remembrance of that tragic day. The Resolution condemns this murderous attack, honors the memory of its victims, offers heartfelt condolences to those directly impacted, applauds the bravery of first responders, condemns intolerance, and calls for continued vigilance against violence. Full text of the Resolution is linked here and included below.

“Two years ago, a bigoted terrorist murdered six innocent Americans and forever altered the lives of their family, friends, and loved ones. We must stamp out this hate from all corners of our nation,” said Congressman Garamendi (D-CA-03). “We must also remember and promote the remarkable love that has shone through the darkness of that day: the Oak Creek Temple congregants who prepared langar, a free community meal for all visitors to the Gurdwara, regardless of their background; the valor of Sikhs and non-Sikhs in fending off the attacker; the candle-light vigils held in honor of the victims and to stand in solidarity with the Sikh community; and the increased effort of law enforcement and other groups to combat hate crimes and promote a more tolerant, peaceful society.”

Last year, Congressman Garamendi joined a coalition that successfully persuaded the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikh-, Hindu-, and Arab-Americans through a letter signed by over 100 Members of Congress. He has also introduced House Resolutions wishing the Sikh-American community a joyous Vaisakhi, a long established harvest festival held throughout the Punjab region of South Asia.

Garamendi’s Northern California based Third Congressional District is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in America. Click here to view a map of the district.

He is co-chair of the Congressional American Sikh Caucus along with fellow co-chairs Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA-27), Congressman David Valadao (R-CA-21), and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07). The bipartisan Caucus educates Members of Congress about American Sikh issues and supports the community in Congress.

House Resolution 698 was cosponsored by 32 Members of Congress. Click here for a full list of cosponsors and more information on H.Res 698.

Text of the Resolution:

Condemning the attack that occurred at the Oak Creek Sikh Gurdwara on August 5, 2012, and honoring the memory of those who died in the attack.

Whereas on Sunday, August 5, 2012, a mass shooting took place, fueled by intolerance, killing 6 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 4 individuals were injured including a responding officer, Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was shot 15 times at close range;

Whereas Lieutenant Brian Murphy and all the first responders to the Oak Creek Gurdwara demonstrated great courage in their quick response to the shooting, ultimately saving lives;

Whereas in the United States, Sikhs have endured high levels of stereotyping, bullying, and violence, all of which rose dramatically in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001;

Whereas the Associated Press reported that more than 700 such incidents of intolerance targeting Sikhs took place over the last decade;

Whereas the Oak Creek shooting was one of the most lethal attacks on a place of worship in the United States 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; and 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 that occurred at the Sikh Temple of 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 the families, friends, and loved ones of those who died in the attack; (4) applauds the bravery of Lieutenant 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.