23ABC Community Connection


Sikh community in Bakersfield holds vigil for Indianapolis shooting victims

Posted at 11:36 PM, Apr 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 02:43:51-04

Shots fired in two minutes at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Thursday, lead to eight lives lost, and no time left for those eight people to spend with their loved ones. Half of the lives that 19-year-old, Brandon Scot Hole took in that mass shooting, belonged to members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

The Jakara movement lit candles across California Sunday night for all victims, and they held their families in their “Ardaas,” a Sikh prayer. This also took place in Bakersfield.

"Whenever we're at a loss for words, we turn to our Ardaas, whether folks come from the Sikh faith tradition or not, we extend that,” Manpreet Kaur, The Jakara Movement's Direct of Programs said. “It's our way of showing that we're thinking of you every day, but especially when something like this shakes everyone up."

Kaur confirmed that many of the Punjabi Sikh victims were relatives of Jakara students in California.

"These people were going to work, they had their lunches with them, they were picking up their paychecks. They were living their everyday, ordinary lives with expectations of going home,” Kaur said. “They had plans, they had dreams, and that was cut short. I think we're really at a loss for words for, are we not even safe at work, then?"

Following the vigil, members of the local Sikh community wrote messages to the families of victims, which Kaur says they plan to send to those families in Indianapolis.

Bakersfield City Councilmember of Ward 7 Chris Parlier, who represents the largest Sikh community in Bakersfield, also showed solidarity at the vigil on Sunday.

"Unfortunately some people are either sick in their minds, or sick in their hearts. And they take that evil and inflict it on innocent people,” Parlier said. “It has reverberated across this nation and into this community and into the Sikh community."

At this point, investigators are still trying to uncover what the motive was of the Indianapolis mass shooting. We’ll provide more information as soon as it comes into our newsroom.