Wisconsin Temple tragedy brings Rochester community together for vigil
Posted at: 08/12/2012 11:30 PM | Updated at: 08/13/2012 12:03 AM
Dozens gathered at the Liberty Pole in Rochester Sunday evening for a prayer vigil in honor of the shooting victims at a Wisconsin Sikh Temple last weekend. But the vigil wasn't just about remembering but also about standing united.
The crowd at this prayer vigil was extremely diverse. Different religious groups, races, and members of the gay and lesbian community stood together; praying for an end to discrimination and hate.
It was geared to stand up against racism and discrimination. Several religious leaders and members of the community were there to show support to the local Sikh community.
It was a day of unity and a day to embrace every religion, and every race.
"In Sikhism there is no superior, there is no inferior," says Parmindor Soch. "All are equal."
The Sikh community is still coming to terms with the tragedy that took the lives of six of their last Sunday. Police say, the massacre was fueled by hate.
"No one has the right to take anybody's life," says Soch.
They gathered at the Liberty Pole for a rare opportunity to stand united and take a stand against hate and discrimination.
"There is extreme pain and hate attached with being targeted because of who you are," says Anne Tischer, who showed up for the vigil Sunday.
Mara Ahmed says, "I am a Muslim and so I am very well aware of the kinds of racist hate crimes that have gone on since 9/11."
Mara Ahmed is a local activist who says Americans shouldn't let fear take over their lives.
"I think we can take something positive out of it, and that is to have these kinds of vigils and have these kinds of difficult discussions about race, about discrimination, about stereotyping," says Ahmed
Religion, race and ethnicity didn't matter Sunday. The vigil was packed with different races, different faces. All carrying the same message when one community hurts... everyone hurts.
"I think it's important that we all sort of be present for them because what's happening to them in a way is happening to us," says Thomas Warfield. "And could happen to us."