A candlelight vigil was held earlier this month at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh temple in memory of nine people shot and killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
Sikh spokesperson, Darshan Bajwa, kept the focus on those who had died as well as their families. Among the victims were the senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney. Bajwa told those gathered that the Sikh are especially sympathetic to victims of violence since six people were killed at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012. The gunman was a white supremacist.
“We recall that same spirit at a vigil here three years ago after the shootings at a Sikh Temple in (Oak Creek) Wisconsin, when so many joined us in praying together,” Bajwa said. “We’re all part of one human race who believe in the same God. So it is right to remember and honor the victims and their loved ones together in their hour of loss.”
About 100 people attended the gathering. Prayers led by a Sikh priest were followed by remarks from speakers such as Eldon Hafford, executive director of Southington Bread for Life, who prayed for peace and expressed thanks to the Sikh for their support of the hungry and poor.
State Rep. Brandon L. McGee, 5th District (Hartford), said, “It is an honor to attend this vigil, a great expression of hope in prayerful unity.”
Historian Dale Plummer, of Norwich, commended the Sikh in their call for unity, healing and positive change.