Commentary: Time to Show Up and Speak Up For Our Communities

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It’s time to show up and speak up. Too many of us have been quiet and inactive for too long when it comes to the dual public health and safety Newtown-ribbon-sandy-hook-12/14/12-speak-up-show-up-for-change-good-neigbor-storiescrises, gun violence, and mental illness. Too many of us have been in a type of waking slumber, waking up occasionally after nightmares like Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, only to fall back asleep after some cry, ‘Too soon! Look away! Nothing will ever change anyway!’

Friday, Dec. 14, 2010, we woke up as a country to a terrible nightmare. The date “12/14” is now our “9/11” when it comes to the realization that we have been inactive for too long in dealing with our gun culture, as well as the very broken system that is supposed to help the mentally ill. The twin towers came down on Friday in Newtown, CT, and nothing must ever be the same.

Each of us as members of our communities, has a responsibility to make those communities strong and safe. We can’t wave it off and say, ‘someone else will do it.’ We all have to show up and speak up. [Read more…]

Candlelight Vigils in Bay Area for Sikh Shooting Victims; Open House Sunday

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Bay Area residents have a chance Wednesday, Aug. 8,  to honor the six victims killed at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday at three local candlelight vigils in San Jose, Fremont, and Hayward.

Two vigils are taking place at 7 p.m., one at Lake Elizabeth, 40000 Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont, and another at the Gurdwara Sahib Temple in Hayward, 1805 Hill Ave. A vigil in San Jose begins at 8 p.m., at the San Jose Sikh Gurdwara Temple, 3636 Murillo Ave.

Local Sikh leaders, as well as secular leaders, are encouraging the public to attend. People are asked to bring their own candles, if possible.

“We are very much saddened by the events in the Sikh Gurdwara in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To pray for the families of those who lost their lives or were injured in this insane violence, we invite everyone to join us,” a press release from the San Jose gurdwara states.

In addition to the vigil, the San Jose gurdwara is hosting an open house this Sunday, Aug. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. People are invited to join the members in prayer or a vegetarian meal called a Langar.

The gurdwara also set up a fund to help families of the victims. Checks can be made out to Sikh Gurdwara San Jose, and sent to 3636 Murillo Ave., San Jose, 95148. Donations can also be made through the website.

“Sikh religion teaches respect for people of all faiths. Sikh Gurus gave their lives to uphold the right of other religions to practice their faith. Every Sikh prayer ends with seeking the welfare of everyone in the world,” the press release from Bhupindar Singh Dhillon, the general secretary of Sikh Gurdwara San Jose, states.

“We condemn this violence and pray that those who committed this crime or planned it find peace in their own souls and become free of these feelings of hatred.”