HomeSouth Asian AmericanSikh community mourns while looking for hope out of FedEx rampage

Sikh community mourns while looking for hope out of FedEx rampage

Amarjit Kaur Johal (Front center), one of the eight people killed in the Fed Ex shooting in Indianapolis. Via Twitter

By Louis Chan, AsAmnews National Correspondent

Even in their grief, South Asian American leaders called for compassion in the aftermath of the Fed Ex shooting in Indianapolis.

The Sikh spiritual practice of chardi kala centers on “compassion, optimism, and courage, even in times of adversity and grief,” according to South Asian Americans Leading Together.

The deaths of eight people, including four Sikhs, at the hands of a former employee who killed himself, is yet another grim milestone for a community which saw a surge of hate following the 9-11 attacks and the massacre at the Oak Creek Temple in 2012.

“For decades, the Sikh community has shown that resilience is possible even as they continually face tragedy, and our solidarity honors, centers, and uplifts that always; this is the thread we hope our community can center as we continue to process our grief.”

Those in the larger Asian American community can support Sikhs by showing “solidarity and support: with “prayers and good thoughts,” said Simran Jeet Singh of the Sikh Coalition told AsAmNews via email.

While evidence has yet to emerge about a possible motive, suspicions are high in the community that this is a hate crime. The Fed Ex facility where this occurred is described as the ‘Desi FedEx’ or the ‘Punjabi FedEx’ due to the overwhelming Sikh American staff, according to the American Kahani.

Singh sees comparisons between the killing of eight people during a shooting spree at three Atlanta spas last month and what happened in Indianapolis.

One law enforcement person in Atlanta described the shooter as having a “bad day.” The mass murder of eight people, including six Asian American woman, has yet to be classified as a hate crime.

“In both instances, we heard one narrative about the shooter’s motivations, and saw an entirely different impact in the communities that were affected by the violence. I see a connection there,” Singh said.

Various members of the Asian American community have called for the possibility of bias to be part of the ongoing investigation.

“The facility is known to be populated by Sikh workers, and it was a planned attack-not one of convenience or randomly selected. It truly felt targeted, Singh said.

In both incidents, the victims were primarily people who came to America for a better life.

“We are struck by the trend of violence against immigrant workers,” SAALT said. “SAALT stands in solidarity with immigrant and essential workers, and honors the care they have poured into our community despite widespread bigotry.”

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