RICHFIELD, Ohio – Hundreds of people filled Richfield’s Sikh temple in honor of the six victims of the Oak Creek, Wisc., shootings.
“It’s… honestly, I was awestruck. It was tremendous to see the support we’ve gotten,” said Jusleen Sodiwal, an advocate with Sikh Coalition. “I think it only strengthened my faith because in my faith, we believe in putting others before yourself, standing up for social injustices and I think this only strengthened our drive to do so.”
The Sunday service featured community leaders and people of several faiths across northeast Ohio.
“We should especially be sensitive and supportive of each other in times of difficulty, in times of challenge,” said Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland. “Faith is indispensable and our words are important, words that express understanding, respect, concern, sharing, giving and forgiving. As opposed to words of hate.”
Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Sen. Sherrod Brown were among political leaders in attendance. Taylor said that the state would back the temple in its time of need.
“God will continue to bless you during your healing process and continue to bless the United States of America,” Taylor said, “a country that embraces and celebrates our differences but recognizes we are one people, with the same dreams and hopes for our future.”
For some, it may be difficult to make sense of all that's happened, but others say the unity that’s formed since the tragedy may be the stepping-stone to tolerance.
“There is enormous hope, which has inspired because of this overwhelming response we had from the community,” said Ratanjit Sondhe, of Richfield Sikh Chapel. “Even in places of business, places of worship, everywhere we need to practice love. And love is God.”