Livingston Sikhs rally to support victims from Wisconsin shooting

08/08/2012 7:03 PM

08/08/2012 11:14 PM

Locals 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.

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 also expected to hold vigils Saturday or Sunday where donations will also be accepted.

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

The aftermath of the incident has shocked the Sikh community.

Sikhism is a religion that was founded in India. It has 27 million followers, with more than 5 million of them living outside India. Sikhs make up nearly 20 percent of the Livingston population.

Bains said the money raised won't only go toward victims and their families, but will also be used to repair any damage to the temple caused by the shooting. He also 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 also be a candlelight vigil from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday outside of City Hall at 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 put people's minds at ease.

For information about how to donate to the relief effort, email Bains at livingstonsportsclub@gmail.com. Donations can also be sent to P.O. Box 324, Livingston, Calif. 95334.

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

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