New York Sikhs organize run to show support for Boston victims

The group meeting before the run. (Courtesy of  Simran Jeet Singh)
The group meeting before the run. (Courtesy of
Simran Jeet Singh)

The horrific act of terrorism at the Boston Marathon this Monday claimed the lives of three and injured over 150 others.

As authorities work to secure the nation and investigate the crime, Americans have mobilized to offer their support and show their solidarity with the victims.

Sikh Americans, who were targets of domestic terrorism in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this past August have been particularly active in condemning the attack and organizing opportunities for community healing.

Immediately after the attack, Sikh advocacy organizations and activists around the country began mobilizing to issue press releases, community advisories, and social media messages to show their solidarity with the victims in Boston.

A statement released by the World Sikh Council offered its “condolences to all victims of this violent incident, and to the families and loved ones of those who have been taken away by this terrible tragedy.”

The statement also encouraged Sikhs to be vigilant against possible backlash violence, an experience with which Sikhs, Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians are far too familiar in post-9/11 America.

Since the events of 9/11, members of these various communities have been increasingly targeted in hate crimes throughout the country. Sikh Americans have received a significant amount of this violence, and the unique identity of turban-wearing Sikhs has made them particularly prone to xenophobia.

In an attempt to show solidarity with the victims of the Boston Marathon, Sikhs from the New York City community have been proactive in organizing spaces for locals to gather and heal. Event organizers have been working with a national Sikh running team – The Surat Fauj Running Club – to participate in a moment of silence and one mile run.

This was held Wednesday night simultaneously in several other cities across the United States, Canada and England, including Chicago, London, Vancouver, San Francisco, Houston and Toronto.

The event in Central Park attracted dozens of members from the local community of various backgrounds, all of whom expressed their appreciation for the chance to gather and mourn as a collective.

The Surat Fauj Running Club and the local Sikh community hope these runs will inspire communities to unite during this tragic time to show our support of each other and the city of Boston during this trying time.

Simran Jeet Singh is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Religion at Columbia University.



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