By Charan Gill
I am deeply saddened by the brutal loss of life and injury of members of the Sikh community in Wisconsin. I feel that this senseless and racist attack at a place of worship is not the act of a madman nor is it a random act of violence—this was well-organized and targeted by a racist group against the Sikh community in Wisconsin.
Many people blame slack gun control laws, but it is my firm belief that by controlling gun violence, we will not be able to stop extreme racist groups from committing attacks against minority groups.
I have lived too long, have seen similar attacks here in B.C., and have heard of other senseless acts of violence motivated by racism across the world. The seeds of ignorance are fertilized by hate and racism. These same seeds burn mosques, synagogues, and temples, create gunmen to murder innocent kids in Norway, and now open fire on innocent worshippers in a gurdwara.
The fruits of these seeds of ignorance are bitter, poisonous, and deadly. Ignorant racists do not care about the differences in faith and practices or whether the victims of their crimes are women or children. Rather, they actively seek vulnerable targets, like Nirmal Singh Gill, who was the victim of an act of racism in Surrey.
Racists and white supremacists cause fear in the wider community to demonstrate their force and power. It would be naïve to think that groups like these do not congregate and meet in secret, even locally. They wait in hiding and seek any opportunity to create hatred among people of all colour, religion, and ethnicity.
Our communities should not live in fear but must unite to show racists that we are happy to live in harmony and have an intercultural understanding of one another. Education will not help racist groups—the only language they understand is strict law enforcement and appropriate consequences to deter them from criminal and racist acts.
I would like to extend my sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident. I strongly denounce this racist act of violence and am determined to not watch our community live in fear. Rather we should unite and organize a defence through education and intercultural understanding against white supremacists to ensure no minority group will suffer from racist and senseless violence again.
Charan Gill is the CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society and a veteran antiracist campaigner in B.C.