US President Joe Biden recalls the victims of the 2012 Gurdwara shooting
Mourning the loss of life in a mass shooting by a white supremacist in a Gurdwara in Wisconsin nine years ago, US President Joe Biden admitted there had been an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the midst of the pandemic and pledged to work with community members to fight the scourge.
On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist opened fire inside the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin, killing seven people.
“That day in 2012 I was with another friend who is half Sikh – he’s a Sikh. And we were dealing with 10 people shot in an act of heinous fanaticism at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Seven people lost their lives that day. Today we honor all those affected by the tragedy, “Biden told reporters at the White House.
In an interaction with reporters following his meeting with Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPP) civil rights leaders, Biden admitted there had been an increase in hate crimes during the COVID pandemic -19.
“We think of all the pain during this pandemic with the increase in hate crimes, harassment, intimidation and other forms of prejudice against Asian Americans,” said Biden, an affiliate television station. at CBS.
“It doesn’t seem to stop,” he said.
Several American Indians have been invited to attend Biden’s meeting at the White House.
The White House in a statement said President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have met with these leaders to discuss a wide range of issues, including the administration’s “Building a Better Agenda”.
The conversation focused on the importance of tackling the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, economic opportunities, a commitment to fairness, protection of the sacred right to vote and immigration reform.
During the meeting, the President and Vice President reiterated their pledge to work together to ensure that the needs of the diaspora of Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities (AA & NHPI) are heard, encouraged and satisfied, “he said. .
Earlier Thursday, Biden urged Americans to fight hatred and bigotry and ensure that all can practice their faith without fear.
“Nine years ago today, we witnessed an unspeakable act of hate when a white supremacist shot ten people in a Sikh temple,” Biden tweeted.
Nine years ago today, we witnessed an unspeakable act of hatred when a white supremacist shot ten people in a Sikh temple. As we remember those we lost in Oak Creek, we must continue to stand up against hatred and bigotry and ensure that all can practice their faith without fear.
– President Biden (@POTUS) August 5, 2021
“As we remember those we lost in Oak Creek, we must continue to fight hatred and bigotry and ensure that all can practice their faith without fear,” the US president wrote as the Sikhs of the country marked the ninth anniversary of the tragedy.
The American Indian rights leaders who attended the meeting were Seema Agnani of the National Coalition for the Development of the Asian and Pacific American Community (National CAPACD); Satjeet Kaur of the Sikh Coalition; Kiran Kaur Gill of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF); and Neil Makhija of Indian American Impact.
In a separate statement, Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, thanked Biden for his “compassion” and “tough stand” against hatred and violence.
“The Sikh community has been shaken by this tragedy and our community is still concerned about the hate rhetoric tolerated by certain political interest groups,” he said.
“White supremacist groups have been on the rise in recent years and intimidate many other minority groups in America. The position of President Biden and Vice President Harris is unambiguous on this crucial issue. It is the most important message that our political leaders can send across the country and the world, ”Mr. Singh said.
Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said, “Today we remember and honor the seven victims of this domestic terrorist attack and we dedicate ourselves once again to the values of peace and openness that characterize the Sikh religion.
“We must also finally reject the white supremacy, xenophobia and bigotry that continue to fuel the flames of hatred and put more lives at risk while taking action to end the gun violence that allows attackers to make their hatred fatal.
“Every American, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, deserves to feel safe in their home and in their own community,” she said.
Nine years ago, innocent worshipers were killed in a senseless act of hatred and violence in a Sikh gurdwara, said MP Grace Meng.
“These worshipers were targeted simply because of their religious identity, a pattern all too common in the Sikh community,” she said.
“As we continue to mourn the families of the victims and the Sikh community, we must reaffirm our commitment to combat hatred and intolerance wherever they exist.”
“We must continue to speak out against these senseless murders rooted in xenophobia and bigotry and adopt policies to protect all Americans from gun violence and racism,” Congressman Ted Lieu said.
“In the nine years since a white supremacist took six beautiful lives and injured four other loved ones while worshiping their gurdwara in Oak Creek, we have seen a heinous increase in hatred. , violence and discrimination against the AAPI community, ”said Indian-US MP Pramila Jayapal.