The Attack is Being Prosecuted as a Hate Crime
The Local Media is Portraying Sikhs Positively
Let's Make Sure Every Sikh Has This Level of Support in the Future
Renton, WA (November 30, 2007) - In a moving show of support, more than 300 Seattle community members gathered at Renton Gurdwara for a candlelight vigil on Wednesday. The gathered crowd prayed for Sukhvir Singh's health and his family's strength at this difficult time. Just a few hours before the vigil began, official hate crime charges had been brought against Sukhvir Singh's attacker, 20-year old Luis Vazquez.
Standing in Support of Sukhvir
In the aftermath of a brutal assault on Sukhvir Singh last weekend, Seattle's Sikh community came out in force to support him and his family. On a rainy Wednesday night, the gurdwara hall was full. The gathered sangat recited Chaupai Sahib before lighting their candles and heading outside to say an Ardaas for Sukhvir Singh's speedy recovery. Langar was served at the end of the event.
Though Sukhvir Singh himself was still hospitalized, his 17 year-old son, Simranjeet, thanked the community on his father's behalf. Simranjeet told the crowd that their support means a lot to his father. In discussing the incident, Simranjeet also reminded the assembly, "Our religion teaches us to forgive."
Over 200 People Have Written Messages of Support to Sukhvir
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Positive Media Coverage
The vigil was attended by nearly a dozen local media outlets, giving Sikhs an opportunity to present ourselves as a peace-loving community while remaining firm in our resolve to have this matter prosecuted as a hate crime. NBC TV, ABC TV, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Times, The Olympian all presented a positive, peaceful image of Sikhs.
Attack is Prosecuted as a Hate Crime
The vigil was held hours after King's County prosecutors announced that Sukhvir Singh'sattacker is being prosecuted for hate crimes. Vazquez is being charged with third-degree assault and malicious harassment, Washington State's hate crime charge Vazquez's arraignment is scheduled for December 4, 2007, in King County Superior Court.
The Sikh Coalition welcomes news of the hate crime charges, and commends King County's Prosecuting Office for its swift action in this regard. Holding Vazquez accountable for a hate crime is an important step towards justice and reconciliation. We will continue to urge the prosecutors not to let the suspect plead out of this crime to anything less than a hate crime.
Many of you - Sikh and non-Sikh - have written to Sukhvir Singh over the past two days to express your sympathy and support. Your kind words have not gone unheard:
"Please know that each of you are valued and you are a special part of our city and our country, and I hope you will not allow the misguided, ignorant, cowardly actions of a few people cause you to doubt the rest of us, who respect, embrace, and welcome you."
"All of our thoughts and prayers are with you. No human being deserves to be treated as Sukhvir Singh was. We are all children of the same Father, regardless of our skin color or our language."
"In this trying hour keep your faith and hold your head high. May God be with you all"
We urge all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly. If you or someone you know is a victim of discrimination, please report it to email@example.com.