Residents rally to support Sikhs

Mnorth@mercedsunstar.comAugust 10, 2012 

— Local residents are rallying to support a Wisconsin Sikh community that recently fell victim to a shooting rampage that left seven people dead and injured several others. Sikhs make up nearly 20 percent of Livingston's population.

Happy Bains, founder and president of the Livingston Sports Club, said his nonprofit organization is taking donations to aid the victims and their families.

The Gurdwara Sahib Temple on Peach Avenue and the Guru Nanak Temple on B Street are expected to hold vigils Saturday or Sunday during which donations will be accepted.

The suspect in the Wisconsin attack, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page, was said to be involved with white supremacism. After six Sikhs were killed in the shooting spree Sunday, Page was shot and wounded by a police officer and later shot himself fatally in the head.

The aftermath of the incident has shocked the Sikh community.

Sikhism is a religion founded in India. It has 27 million followers, and more than 5 million of them live outside India.

Bains said the money raised will go to help victims and their families and to help repair damage to the temple caused by the shooting. He wants to send a banner to the Oak Creek Police Department and plaques to two of the responding officers to show that their actions are appreciated.

In addition to the fund-raising effort, there will be a candlelight vigil from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday outside City Hall, 1416 C St.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday night, council members expressed sympathy toward the victims of Sunday's shooting.

Sikh Councilman Gurpal Samra thanked Livingston Police Chief Ruben Chavez for assigning patrols to the city's two Sikh temples during upcoming services.

"The chance of this happening is remote, but why take the chance?" Samra said, adding that stepped-up police presence will help put people's minds at ease.

For information about how to donate to the relief effort, email Bains at

livingstonsportsclub@gmail.com.

Donations also can be sent to P.O. Box 324, Livingston, CA 95334.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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