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Local Sikh community holds candlelight vigil for murdered Merced family of 4

Sikh Candlelight Vigil for Merced Family
Posted at 8:02 AM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 11:05:16-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Following the tragic kidnapping and murder of the Singh family in Merced, Bakersfield's local Sikh Women's Association held a candlelight vigil in honor of the family on Sunday, October 9th.

Members of the Bakersfield Sikh community lit candles in Stone Creek Park to stand with the loved ones and Merced residents feeling the loss of Singh family.

"By coming to this event, I think just the community being together, we’re all united," said Binay Brar, President of the Sikh Honors and Service Society. "We’re all angry. We’re sad. We’re frustrated with what happened and I just think with all those emotions, we all have one agreement and that is to seek change and to make sure that this never happens again.”

The vigil began with speakers praying and sending love to the family. Later, people who came out were able to write notes on the message board and provide support for the Singh family.

"Our goal is to share love with one another," said Manpreet Kaur, Director of Development for the Jakara Movement. "While a community has been thinking about this at home personally grieving and just trying to process what's happened, this is a way for us to come together and share in it with one another. So the goal is really to spread love and to hold our family members and our loved ones a little bit closer tonight.”

The vigil also served as a way to inform some in the Sikh community of the Merced family's passing. Jaswant Dhillon couldn’t fully explain what happened to the family to his grandmother in her language, Punjabi, so the vigil helped connect her with other Sikh people.

"A lot of the older people, we call them buzurg, which is like older people, like elders, they don’t keep up on social media and stuff and they don’t really know what happened. So my grandma, one day she came to me and she saw it on the news and she didn’t know what was going on so I brought her here,” explained Dhillon. "It’s important for us to join here and everybody talks, so like right now we’re all talking about what happened and of what we've heard of, why it led up to that and there’s other stories of why it led up to that. But it's good to get everybody together so that way we show that we’re a peaceful community and we’re not anybody bad.”

Those who attended the vigil in Southwest Bakersfield hope to continue to bring awareness to this tragedy so that it never happens again.

Meanwhile, the community of Merced is still in mourning. Their Sikh community also gathered for a vigil to remember the family and the impact they had on others. The vigil brought together family members, friends, and supporters from throughout the Central Valley who held candles in their memory.

Since Thursday, a vigil has been held every night to honor each of the four victims.