LEADERS, FAITHS, AND COMMUNITY AFFIRM SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY AT MEMORIAL SERVICE
Memorial Prayer for FedEx Victims at Lucas Oil Stadium
Los Angeles, May 10, 2021
NRIpress.club/ KP Singh/ Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh Grewal
At Lucas Oil Football Stadium Honored Eight Victims of Indianapolis FedEx Facility Shooting:
Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Jasvinder Kaur, 50; Amarjeet Kaur Johal, 66; Amarjit Kaur Sekhon, 48; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Karli Ann Smith, 19; John "Steve" Weisert, 74;
A Prayerful Reflection: Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
At each gathering and Candlelight Vigil, our hands and hearts rose in Ardaas (Prayer) for these beautiful souls to Rest in Peace as we memorialized and sang that our Love and Blessings go with them and their Lives, Legacies, and Stories are forever bound with our own. Many thoughtful messages received from many friends, organizations, and across diverse spectrum echo similar sentiments. At the Lucas Oil Football Stadium:
Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Whitehouse representative, Erica Moritsugu, and faith leaders representing Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Moslem, Jain, Mormon, Buddhist, Bahai, Sikh, and other religious traditions - all offered deep sympathy and sadness about the horrific incident that claimed eight innocent lives. Each offered assurance and determination to end such dark moments that devastated lives, created fear and distress that goes far beyond the victims and boundaries of the State of Indiana.
We heard calls and also the promises of a thorough and transparent investigation of the tragic FedEx shooting. Faith leaders offered unifying messages of hope to sooth the shattered world of the families of victims and shaken spirit of Hoosier Sikh community. Former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Todd Young and U.S. Senator Mike Braun, Congressman André Carson, Congressman Pence, State representatives and Sikh leaders including New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Hoboken Mayor, Ravinder Bhalla, and other officials sent messages, videos, and letters of condolences, encouragement, support and solidarity with Sikhs and other victims, and promised to address the special concerns of Sikh Americans.
Some messages called to end gun violence and for increased safety measures at workplaces, places of worship, in neighborhood and schools; renewed vigorous efforts to end bias, harassment, unprovoked violence, and hate crimes against targeted communities, especially Moslem, Jewish, and Sikh Americans. They recognized urgency to dispel stereotyping and wrongful associations, to undertake programs and initiate steps to learn about the diverse traditions that make up the rich cultural and ethnic fabric of America today. Through it all, the local, state, and national media were there to cover this tragic event since the shooting on April 15th, providing details, interviewing Sikh leaders for insightful perspectives, and highlighting profiles of each victim - the eight precious lives cut short by the gunman in split seconds and leaving behind devastated families and shattered lives of survivors.
For one brief moment, these gatherings provided hope; the larger community became one caring family to the victims, to Hoosier Sikhs and others mourning the loss of loved ones, and to the Nation and world stunned by these senseless murders. We all became a frontline behind the comforters-in-chief and as an extended family to the victims. We understood, that grief, hardships, and victim families getting back on their feet, are a lifelong anguish and heartbreak challenge. Prayer gatherings, traditional ceremonies, and memorial services, and the promises of support and solidarity can hardly end this nightmare. We are at the beginning the arduous journey of recovery and getting back to life lies far into the future. The victim families need sustained counseling, financial support, encouragement and rebuilding at many levels. As we departed after over a three hour marathon Memorial Service, our hearts were full. Yet, those who attended, and may be others who virtually participated or read about it saw a glimmer of light and hope, and a mountain of friendly concern and goodwill in the moment.
It was a moving experience as I reflected upon this and an earlier interfaith "Prayer for Healing" at Gurdwara Sikh Satsang on April 18; and as we witnessed the outpouring love and humanitarian kinship during this dark chapter in the history of our City and State. As Sikh Americans, we also understood that the Sikh Americans themselves must do the heavy lifting of educating, safety, mainstreaming, and serious engagement; striving for our rightful place within the American Republic; and becoming trusted partners and major players in the future of their communities and Nation. Like all other groups that made American home, we must get engaged, serve and succeed, and emerge as masters of our own destiny and leaders of tomorrow.
The Memorial Service at the Lucas Oil Stadium was organized by the leadership of several central Indiana Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship), with assistance from national organizations - The Sikh Coalition, The United Sikhs, and SALDEF; and many volunteers, community leaders, and well-wishers. ~ Respectfully with loving thoughts and prayers, KP Singh (KP Singh Designs) and family - Indianapolis, Indiana USA - May 1, 2021.