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Responding to Indianapolis: Solidarity with the Sikh Community

We stand together in mourning Amarjeet Kaur Johal, Jaswinder Singh, Amarjit Kaur Sekhon, Jaswinder Kaur, Matthew R. Alexander, Samaria Blackwell, Karli Smith, and John Weisert, who all lost their lives in a mass shooting at a FedEx building in Indianapolis last Thursday night. We recognize that this shooting was a crime against a specific ethno-religious group in that it disproportionately targeted and impacted the Punjabi-Sikh community: 

Amarjeet was a grandmother who promised one of her granddaughters she would make her panjeeri, a special meal for postpartum mothers.

Jaswinder Singh, who just started working at FedEx, was a father and grandfather who would always commit to daily prayers.

Amarjit was the backbone of her family, showing her love for them through her cooking. She would carpool to work with her coworker Jaswinder Kaur.

Jaswinder Kaur was a mother and sent money earned from her FedEx job to her son living in India.

The Sikh community has faced a long history of racism in America. The horrific violence in Indianapolis triggers jarring memories of the post-9/11 gas station murder in Mesa, Arizona and 2012 Oak Creek gurdwara shooting. These types of attacks reflect a historical and ongoing pattern of White supremacy, which continues to rip away at the tapestry of America’s diversity, targeting people of color repeatedly. 

We weep with our Sikh brothers and sisters, their aunties and uncles, and their families and friends. To our Sikh students, faculty, and staff, we are reminded of this quote from alumna Valarie Kaur ’03: “The courage of our ancestors runs through your blood. We can bear this. They showed us how. May we love each other hard.” Even as we grieve, we honor the resilience of the Sikh community in the face of difficulty.

As allies, we recommit to educating ourselves and following the guidance of Sikh community and organizational leaders, such as:

 

Jakara Movement: A grassroots community-building organization working to empower, educate, and organize Punjabi Sikhs, and other marginalized communities.

Kaur Life: A non-profit magazine tailored for young Kaurs (Sikh women) to empower themselves.

Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund: The oldest Sikh American civil rights and educational organization.

Sikh Coalition: A non-profit Sikh-American advocacy group that defends civil rights

Sikh Research Institute: A global non-profit organization providing educational resources to Sikhs

Sikh Family Center: A non-profit that promotes community health and well-being with a special focus on gender justice.

We encourage allies to commit to change, invest time in these organizations by learning more about the Sikh community, and/or donating to support these non-profit organizations financially. 

We stand together in creating a nation in which Sikhs, all who express their devotion in word, deed, and dress, and all people of color and marginalized groups are honored, respected, and free. We pray and hope for theirs and all of our families.

Asian American Activities Center
The Markaz Resource Center

Office for Religious & Spiritual Life
Office of Inclusion, Community, and Integrative Learning
Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Stanford South Asian Society