Sep 19th, 2012
5th Assu (Samvat 544 Nanakshahi)
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Press Release

Monumental hearing takes place at DC.
US Sikhs gather in DC for Historic Hearing on "Hate Crimes & the Threat of Domestic Extremism"

20th Sep 2012, Washingotn DC: In the aftermath of the violent attack in Oak Creek Gurdwara, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired a monumental hearing yesterday, the first Congressional hearing in recent years on the threat posed by domestic extremists. The historical hearing that took place on September 19th not only scrutinized the impact of the recent wave of violence perpetuated by hate crimes but also gauged the threat of domestic extremism.

Sikhs from Oak Creek, the tri state area and representatives from Sikh Organizations all over the United States were present to show support and solidarity.More than 400 people attended the hearing. Harpreet Singh Saini, with his brother Kamaljeet Singh Saini by his side, delivered an emotional tribute to his mother, who was one of the six victims who lost their lives on Aug 5th Oak Creek Gurdwara attacks."I just had my first day of college. And my mother wasnÕt there to send me off," Saini said.

UNITED SIKHS is thankful to Harpreet Singh Saini for his headship in sharing his testimony. It was indeed a very important day for Sikh Americans and all other communities who have been facing the heat and brunt of hate and violence since long.Photographs of the six victims who lost their lives were displayed in the hearing room as a means to pay homage and honor them.

Click here to watch the hearing on C-SPAN.

UNITED SIKHS submitted a written testimony on the hearing.Manvinder Singh, Legal Director with UNITED SIKHS said "We will not let the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters go in vain. Sikhs should be classified and accounted separately while tracking hate crimes and in the census. Domestic Terrorism on the rise should be checked with news laws and policies."

We are thankful to Senator Durbin for taking this initiative. UNITED SIKHS truly appreciates and thanks all the participants and community members who were present for the hearing.Their attendance in this historic hearing truly signifies that we cannot afford to lose any more lives to such senseless crime that happened in Wisconsin on August 5th and that Sikhs stand up for justice for all.The Sikhs understand that the real drivers of the change we all can see today are the six Sikhs who lost their lives as part of the unfortunate event at Wisconsin.

"We cannot forget the Sikhs who lost their lives in the house of Worship. The best homage we can pay to them is by standing against bigotry and hatred", said Dr. Gurparkash, Regional Director of Community Empowerment and Education.

UNITED SIKHS would also like to thank the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NSCO) for their support in pulling together the event and the press conference thereafter. We truly appreciate all the support the communities have been providing during this hour.

Issued By:
Mankanwal Singh
National Director, Community Empowerment and Education
P: 973-980-2379, 646-688-3525
Fax: 1-810-885-4264
Email: law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

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