Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 14, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama offered consoling words and gave hugs to all the family members of the Sikh victims of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting in Wisconsin in August.
Sikhs had gathered at the White House to celebrate the birthday of the Founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak on Friday. 160 Sikhs from all over the US and Sikhs from Wisconsin gurdwara at the invitation of the White House to celebrate this day for the third time. Senior officials from the White House and Justice Department turned up to welcome Sikhs and to give them an assurance of the continued support of the Obama Administration. Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement, organized the event which was attended by several key leaders of Sikh organizations across the nation.
There were five representatives from the deceased/seriously injured victims's families. The representatives were Ravinder Kaur, Surinder Kaur, Lokinder Kaur, Raghuvinder Singh (Son of Baba Punjab Singh), and Gurmail Singh (Son of Baba Santokh Singh). Accompanying them was Dr. Harcharan Singh Gill, President of the Oak Creek Gurdwara, Harpreet Singh, and Gurmukh Singh Mangat.
Dr. Harcharan Gill said, "We had the opportunity to meet First Lady Michelle Obama as she welcomed us and was glad to see we could be part of the celebration. She also shared condolences as she hopes and prays for our healing."
First Lady greeting each family members and Sikh representatives individually and gave warm hug to family members.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education and who had been playing a key role in organizing the Sikh celebrations at the White House, also met Michelle Obama and said, "We want to thank you for your support to the Sikh community in this difficult period. We were glad to see President Obama get re-elected and we are praying that he is able to solve America's most difficult problems. We feel that the leadership of America is in safe hands. President Obama has shown his utmost keenness to express support to the Sikh community and we are grateful for his sentiments." He also thanked the first Lady for the celebration of Guru Nanak Dev ji at the White House.
Amardeep Kaleka, son of the Gurdwara President who was killed in the shooting, said from Oak Creek, "I do want to apologize for not being able to personally attend as I am preparing to take my father's ashes to Kiratpur (in Punjab, India) next week.
Lokhinder Kaur, one of the family member, said, " I am amazed that the First Lady was so open and willing to make time for them."
Joshua DuBois, Head of the White House's Faith Based Initiative and who counsel Obama on spiritual matters, said, "There is not any week which goes by when we do not think about the Sikh community. Just as we focused on Sikhs weeks immediately after the Wisconsin tragedy. I want to assure you on behalf of President Obama that we have deep commitment for the families of all those were affected." He further stated, "We are so proud of our great relationship with the Sikh community on Job training and environmental issues and we will continue to expand our relationship."