Hundreds of local Sikhs and members of the community gathered at Renton's Saturday night to mourn the victims and pray for the families of the Wisconsin shooting.
left seven people dead, including the gunman, and three others wounded.
“This tragedy occurred as a result of ignorance and hatred,” said Jasmit Singh, member of the Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Washington. “But we are hoping to create awareness and acceptance here in Washington. We choose not to live in fear.”
The candlelight vigil also included non-Sikh members of the community, who wore scarves and bandanas in solidarity with the local Sikh community.
"I think everybody should make it clear that hate crimes that occurred in Wisconsin are just really unacceptable and really disgusting and have nothing to do with either American values, civilized values or any kind of decent values at all," said Walt Stockla, who is not Sikh.
The program featured a prayer service and informational presentation on Sikhism, followed by a community meal called “langar.”
Sikh members spoke about the need to stand up against discrimination based on religon and race.
"We're a very loving community. We're all about giving back to the community and remembering God," said Paul Chilana.
"What happened in Wisconsin is very tragic, very sad," Chilana said. "The thing that gets me is the fact that it happened in a place of worship. Usually, a temple, a church or a Gurdwara is a place of solace where you're safe. That day, they were not safe."
Sen. Maria Cantwell, former Congressman Jay Inslee and U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan were also among the speakers at the vigil.
There are about 30,000 Sikhs in the Seattle area, according to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Washington.
About Sikhs and the Sikh Faith
The Sikh faith was founded in South Asia more than 500 years ago. The faith preaches a message of devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, and social justice, while denouncing superstitions and blind rituals.
Sikhs believe in the equality of all peoples regardless of gender, religious affiliation, beliefs or race. There are more than 25 million Sikhs throughout the world and approximately 500,000 adherents of the Sikh religion in the United States. There are approximately 30,000 Sikhs in the Seattle area.
Information courtesy of Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Washington.
Did you attend the candlelight vigil on Saturday? What did you think? Tell us in the comments section.