Our union brothers and sisters understand this isn't a “they,” it’s an “us,” says Bill Camp, executive secretary of the Sacramento [Calif.] Central Labor Council, of the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., that killed six people and wounded four.
The labor council has a connection to the Wisconsin tragedy. Camp says the council has been working closely with the Northern California Taxi Cab Union, affiliated with Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 29, for the past several months. Two of the Northern California Taxi Cab Union’s officers are Sikh: Masih Singh (senior vice president and secretary treasurer) and Bahign Singh (general secretary). Masih was a friend of one of the victims in the recent Wisconsin tragedy.
Kazman Zaidi, president of the Northern California Taxi Cab Union, says the Sacramento Central Labor Council has been working with local Sikh and community groups in this time of tragedy to coordinate a press conference and an upcoming candlelight vigil.
“Two Sikhs were murdered in Sacramento several years ago….This is a real problem for us,” said Camp of a suspected hate crime that occurred in the Elk Grove suburb. Camp:
These are attacks on families of union people….We’re asking union people to stand with us. We need to get the message out that Sikhs are good union members and union leaders…an injury to these families is an injury to all of us.
This Sunday, the Sacramento Labor Council is coordinating with local groups to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting at the state Capitol at 1315 10th St., in Sacramento. The vigil will start at 6 p.m. People are encouraged to bring their own candles. On Friday, Sikh and community groups are hosting vigils all over the country. A list of the locations and additional dates are being updated here.
The Sikh Temple of Sacramento is hosting an interfaith prayer session Wednesday evening that is open to the public. The temple is located at 2301 Evergreen Ave., West Sacramento.
For more information, visit the Sikh Coalition here.
Learn more about mobilization efforts from UNITED SIKHS here.