Remembering Pittsburgh: 15 BC Groups Join to Condemn Violence
It is unacceptable to ever justify killing anyone.
Surrey, BC - On Sunday, November 4th, 15 organizations and communities came together at a genocide remembrance event to honour the nine Jewish victims that were murdered in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
Held at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Surrey on the anniversary weekend of the Sikh genocide, participants sang prayers and songs from many traditions. They spoke with each other, sharing their anger, their fears, and how they wish to show up. They lit candles in the memory of those that died in Pittsburgh and in the memory of all victims of genocide and persecution. They also held the shooter, Robert Bowers in prayer.
Holding this public memorial event empowered locals to show support and solidarity for those who were directly affected by the violence in Pittsburgh. “Canadians are always shocked by violence stemming from intolerance and hatred because they view Canada and North America, in general, as a sanctuary of peace and tolerance from the rest of the world. Participating in this genocide remembrance enabled us to feel that we are contributing in a positive way to help support and maintain this sanctuary in the face of such a disturbing event,” commented Sherry Marceil, a local public affairs representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Guntaas Kaur, a BC board member of the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) offered the following observation when asked why Sikhs felt it was important to honour the Jewish victims of the Pittsburgh shooting. “Sikh-Canadians have not forgotten how the former Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) stood by us when Baltej Singh Dhillon was fighting for his right to wear a dastaar, a Sikh turban, as a police officer in the RCMP. Nor have we forgotten the support CJC provided us when Sikh veteran Pritam Singh Jauhal was denied entry to a Surrey Legion because he was wearing a dastaar. CJC paid for full page ads in newspapers to educate the public about Sikhs and their dastaars and stood with members of WSO during press conferences.”
When asked for a key takeaway from the gathering, Sukhvinder Kaur from Worldwide Shift Disturbers stated, “No beliefs can justify killing anyone. People can disagree. People can believe in different things. People can live differently. Respect for all human life is non-negotiable. Neighbours cannot be killing neighbours.”
Partner Organizations and Communities:
Cloverdale United Church
Crossroads United Church
Global Girl Power
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Northwood United Church
Rohingya Human Rights Network
Sikh Research Institute
Sephardic Jewish Community
Surrey Baha’i Community
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Association
The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints
World Sikh Organization of Canada
Worldwide Shift Disturbers
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Worldwide Shift Disturbers
Worldwide Shift Disturbers is an organization working to create an inter-generational community that inspires people to take action to change the status quo while embodying respect and equality