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Council Candidates to Hold Vigil in Noonan Park Tonight, In Honor of Sikh Victims of Indianapolis Shooting

NYC Council Candidate Amit Singh Bagga speaking to the Sikh community in 2020

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.

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steven kaszab

A urgent please. What are guns good for?

As a youngster I grew up around guns
sportshooting , skit shooting and target practice
Our family ate wildfare often.

Growing up to a young adultman
I witnessed the uses of these weapons
in a fashion all too new.
It became all to real to me.

Travelling the world I experienced their
multiple and varied uses.
The Bronx brought me the snub nose 38
North Africa the everlasting AK 47.

In America I witnessed the true purpose
of these weapons.
Mugged twice, and assaulted a few times too.
One never knew who was packing
who was a friend or foe.

The Hand Gun seemed like the Devil,
a threat and challenge to my person
and my freedom from Fear.
I would ride upon a subway in New York
looking at each neighbor with a question on my mind.
Who was a threat or a friend of mine?

Too many weapons, hand gun’s there are.
More guns then North americans exist
and their presence a everlasting threat,

Looking at our children, their innocence and smiles
challenges us to deal with the possible.
So long as weapons of every kind are freely used
whether registered or not,
there is the possiblity of danger, accident or intentional.

What are guns good for? What reason do they exist?
To threaten, cause fear and kill.

Living in a world free of weapons, such a dream I may have.
Let Us link our hope for freedom from Fear.
Let Us demand the best for our children, their future be bright.

Manage, reclaim and destroy what brings sorrow
so that we can all be Free of Fright.

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Steven Kaszab

FEAR manipulates and transforms our Fellow Citizens and Protectors every day.

TRANSPARENCY – ACCOUNTABILITY – COMMUNITY POLICING

FRIENDS PLEASE CONSIDER…

Police, body of officers representing the civil authority of government. Police typically are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities. These functions are known as policing. ( Webster’s dictionary).

The definition maybe simplified, but the basis states that Police are persons of authority, armed and able to maintain public order and safety.

We have seen may cases of violence set upon Citizens and Police alike in North America.

Justified violence? Is that the important issue here? The main issue is that Our Society is filled with FEAR.
Police fear for their lives, loss of authority while Citizens Fear those who are suppose to be protecting them.

Why the FEAR? So many reasons…Armed Criminality
Social injustice & prejudice
Racism (personal & institutionalized
Availability of weapons
Supposed media availability(everyone has a video)
Generational Poverty & Unemployment

Fear of all kinds transforming our society into groups…cultural, social, political, economic classes, race.
Even when we protest the injustices of the world we come face to face with Fear whether it be institutional ignorance, police/social oppression, societal exclusion’s.

Have you ever been in a predominately poverty stricken community walking at night, see three youths coming towards you on side walk? Hoodies in the dark. What to do. Fear of the possible.

A couple driving a premier vehicle in an exclusive neighborhood are stopped. If they were white they’d still be driving, but no. Police check. Why? Fear of the possible.

Lets get rid of this fear. Lets change how Police and Policing are viewed. No longer should police be viewed as those to be feared.

Policing should be viewed as PEACE KEEPING

Police Keepers do what? Stand between opposing forces to negotiate and stop violence.

I experienced an event in New York City long ago. We were on a bus when two officers came aboard. A young man stood up and pointed his fire arm at them. What did they do? Have a shootout? No. One officer stepped back down the stairs while the other spoke to the young man. We were all involved in this conversation. The officer knew how to de escalate the situation. The young man went down the stairs, sitting on a bench with an officers while the other stood behind him. Peace Keepers talk, discuss, influence situational experiences. As a clergyman I to learnt the power of intelligent gabbing. Explain the pros and cons of existing or future events. Have a gun, what can happen to you or others if that gun is used.
TALK-Walk in Their Shoes – Respond

Peace Keepers find solutions to problems. They often hash out political-Personal issues between individuals and groups. Policing has become a multi tasking career. Part police, social worker & diplomate. Remember the Police are agents of The Justice system but they do not punish. The Courts decide what is fair and just. The Police learn and proclaim Laws of the land. Therefore if someone has been perceived to break a law, the police respond in an intelligent controlled manner. Most times violence is not needed. If a law breaker does not fear the police, knowing they will be going to court where they’d be judged violence can be avoided. Do the Police know this? Is every Citizen in Our Land viewed as innocent or possibly guilty. Do the Police Fear Us(the Citizenry) so much that weapons in hand have become habitual?

Policing needs to become Community Centered. Police and our citizens need to learn what it is like to live in one another’s shoes. I lived in the Bronx of @ a year. White, Black , Hispanic, Asian…we all lived below the poverty line, among those who stood outside of the American experience. Low income, addiction, low prospects. Yet the communities in the Bronx were centers of helpful, charitable Community also. Respect given and taken by all. The police lived in the community. They knew the Fears, Joys and Expectations of their neighbors and responded with open hands & hearts. Shit happened, yes, but there was more good then bad.

We need to know each other, seeing our neighbors with new eyes. The prejudices of the past and present can be understood and dealt with intelligently. A Peace Keeper is possibly the most flexible of our armed forces. Thrown into every possible situation they need to adapt and respond in a constructive manner. So too Our Police. Pulling a weapon is a last resort. A Good person standing in their uniform, ready to serve their neighbor should be all that’s needed. Armed yes. There are situation that require the authority of a weapon, But the power of intelligent thoughts can be voiced, transforming a situation of potential violence into a act of peaceful good.

Our Police need to be trained as peace keepers. The days of turning off body cams, taking a hooligan down town for a beating, hassling someone cause they are in a car, neighborhood not symbolic of their demographic Must end.

Eric Cartman, a character of South Park bark’s these words “Respect My Authority”.

That is what is happening throughout North America. Police FEAR loss of their authority. Every ones seemingly questioning that authority on social media, videos and the media. I guess what I am saying is Authority is not as powerful as Respect. Found in the same statement, both words actually compliment each other. Respect My Authority. Police are not in themselves authority, but represent Authority. Who gives them this authority? We do. It is not Them and Us. It is US. WE are the authority they represent.
As God says “I Am” we the people should proclaim to all RESPECT OUR AUTHORITY. Who will represent us in the world? The Peace Keepers of society, our neighbor’s “THE POLICE”.

STEVEN KASZAB
Bradford, Ontario
[email protected]

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