April 19, 2021 By Christina Santucci
A pair of Queens City Council candidates are holding a vigil Monday evening in Sunnyside in honor of four members of the Sikh religious community who were killed in the FedEx facility shooting in Indianapolis Thursday.
The remembrance – organized by Amit S. Bagga and Hailie Kim – is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at Noonan Park, located at 42nd Street and Greenpoint Avenue.
Those who attend are encouraged to wear white or light colors and bring flowers. Candles will be provided, organizers said.
“This vigil isn’t just a memorial for all the lives lost; it is a recommitment to fight against the hate-fueled disinformation tumor metastasizing in our nation’s brains; to fight to get guns out of people’s hands; and yes, to fight against the corporate greed that prohibited cell phones on the factory floor in the name of productivity,” Bagga said in a statement.
Both Bagga and Kim are vying for the 26th District Council seat currently held by Jimmy Van Bramer, who is unable to run again due to term limits.
Bagga has previously written about violence and hatred directed toward Sikhs – including members of his own family. He says that violence against Sikhs is rarely mentioned, noting that seven Sikh Worshipers were killed by a white supremacist in the 2012 Oak Creek massacre in Wisconsin.
In an email about Monday’s vigil, Bagga wrote, “Though assaults on our bodies, our lives, our psyches have been endless, we must pay tribute and mark every loss so that we can commit ourselves to continue fighting hatred, disinformation, and for getting every gun out of everyone’s hands.”
Eight people were killed in the Indianapolis shooting by a former FedEx employee, who then turned his gun on himself, authorities said. Those victims included three Sikh women and one man – Jasvinder Kaur, Amarjit Sekhon, Amarjeet Johal and Jaswinder Singh.
The other victims were John Wisert, Matthew Alexander, Samaria Blackwell and Karli Smith.
The Sikh Coalition – a national organization based in New York – wrote on Twitter that vigils, including one in South Richmond Hill, will be held across the country Monday to honor those killed. The second Queens event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at 95th Avenue and 125th Street inside Smokey Oval Park, now known as Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto Park.
The Coalition also posted a statement on Twitter about the shooting.
“We expect that authorities will conduct a full investigation – including the possibility of bias as a factor,” the organization wrote.