There was prayer, candlelight, solidarity and hope at the Brantford Sikh Temple on Sunday night as more than 250 people stood to remember the victims of a shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Beginning with traditional sikh prayers and moving through an hour of remembrance on the front lawn of the Park Road North gurdwara, the candlelight vigil was the local sikhs way of reacting to the tragedy.
“Some of the things from that incident cannot be answered, but the response has been so overwhelming worldwide,” Onkar Singh said. “The gurdwaras are being opened, it’s not been about closing the doors or about feelings of revenge or hatred.
“This vigil is a very small attempt to be part of that movement of solidarity.”
Six people were killed and four others wounded when a gunman opened fire in a suburban Milwaukee gurdwara on Aug. 5.
At the Brantford vigil, people were asked to make donations that would go to the Oak Creek victims as well as a responding police officer who was shot in the attack.
The event was not just for sikhs to stand up for peace, but for the whole community to make a statement.
Brantford Mayor Chris Friel, Rev. Barry Pridham from Sydenham Street United Church, Imam Mohammed El-Farram of the Brantford Mosque and a representative of Six Nations led parts of the prayers.
The sikh youth prepared a display and a slideshow commemorating the victims of the Oak Creek shooting and held up signs of peace and solidarity.
“This was a great chance for the City of Brantford to come together,” Singh said. “We are all on unique paths to the same goal and if we start to understand that, the world will be a better place.”