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Gov. Evers declares April Sikh Awareness Month. following deadly California shooting

Posted at 10:51 PM, Apr 30, 2019

Gov. Tony Evers presented a proclamation to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Tuesday declaring April Sikh Awareness Month.

It comes just days after a Jewish synagogue was the target of hate in a deadly California shooting, and nearly seven years after the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting.

As the Sikh community welcomes this proclamation, they hope it will bring less hate and more tolerance to minority groups.

Not a day goes by where Harpreet Saini doesn't think about his mom, one of six people killed in the 2012 shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek.

"It's always there," Saini said. "It's always present."

Several people were seriously injured, including Lt. Brian Murphy, who was shot 15 times.

"With what's been going on with active shooters and so many religious cultures, it's hard to not constantly be reminded of what happened," Murphy said. "The idea that any religion now is safe is, sorry to say, it's not a reality."

Every few weeks or months we hear about another hate crime against a minority group somewhere in the world, unfortunately, even here in Wisconsin.

"There are always threats you know, whether you're at the grocery store, whether you're a taxi driver," Sikh Temple member, Mandeep Kaur said.

She hopes Gov. Evers' proclamation will spark conversations with the greater community.

"While our state and our country still has much left to do to create a culture of mutual understanding, the message has always been very clear, we are one," Gov. Evers said.

"It will intrigue the interest of why do we have this? What does Sikhism really mean?" Kaur said.

Education and awareness could just be the keys to curtailing the hate.

"The more we can get to know one and understand each other, the more we realize we're the same in this," Murphy said.

One way the Sikh community hopes to connect with the greater region is by turning their annual 6k into a city event instead of just a Sikh event. It's scheduled over the summer.