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Wisconsin Victim’s Sons Want to Become Police Officer

By Anju Kaur, SikhNN staff writer, Washington Bureau
Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 | 10:12 pm

Reporting from Washington – The sons of the only woman killed in the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting in early August will pursue careers in law enforcement.

“I also want to be a part of the solution,” Harpreet Singh, said in his testimony to a Senate subcommittee on hate crimes, on Sept. 19. “That’s why I want to be a law enforcement officer like Lt. Brian Murphy, who saved so many lives on Aug. 5, 2012.

Harpreet Singh, 18, lost his mother, Paramjit Kaur, when a white supremacist, Wade Michael Page, went on a shooting rampage at the Wisconsin gurdwara, in Oak Creek. Five others were killed, and three injured, including Murphy, who is now out of the hospital.

“I want to protect other people from what happened to my mother,” he said. “I want to combat hate – not just against Sikhs but against all people.”

Harpreet Singh is a freshman at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, majoring in law enforcement. His older brother, Kamaljit Singh, is also planning to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“We’re just doing the best we can,” Harpreet Singh told SikhNN. “We’re getting through this as best as we can now. And we’re just trying to move forward from this, and, you know, just try to kind of forget this.”

Accompanied by his brother, Harpreet Singh was in Washington on Sept. 19 to testify at a Senate subcommittee’s hearing on ‘Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism’, led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. He asked the government to track hate crimes against Sikhs, and to vigorously pursue domestic terrorists.

“(I) just (want) to end hate crimes,” Harpreet Singh said before his testimony. “And you know how people look at Sikhs funny and everything? I just hope that people start coming up to me and start asking me what’s that on your head, not to be afraid of me, but just not making fun of me behind my back...

About 400 people, mostly Sikhs, attended the hearing. The room was full to capacity, and an overflow room was made available in the connecting building.

“Lots of people have sent their support, lots of cards, papers, writing poems about us, you know, for us,” Harpreet Singh added. “This really changes things, obviously, with my friends, because, it’s a huge thing. They have been there for me. Now, they’re just like: We’ll be there in 10 seconds. And they’re there when I need them.”

HARPREET SINGH’S TESTIMONY

The United States Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Committee on the Judiciary on ‘Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism’.
September 19, 2012

My name is Harpreet Singh Saini. I would like to thank Sen. Durbin, Ranking Member Graham, and the entire subcommittee for giving me the opportunity to be here today.

I am here because my mother was murdered in an act of hate 45 days ago. I am here on behalf of all the children who lost parents or grandparents during the massacre in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

A little over a month ago, I never imagined I’d be here. I never imagined that anyone outside of Oak Creek would know my name, or my mother’s name, Paramjit Kaur Saini, or my brother’s name, Kamaljit Singh Saini. Kamal is here with me today.

As we all know, on Sunday, August 5, 2012, a white supremacist, fueled by hatred, walked into our local Gurdwara with a loaded gun. He killed my mother while she prayed. He shot and killed five more men – all of them were fathers, and all had turbans like me.

And now people know all our names: Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suvegh Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka.

This was not supposed to be our American story. This was not my mother’s dream.

My parents brought Kamal and me to America in 2004. I was only 10-years-old. Like many other immigrants, they wanted us to have a better life, a better education, in the land of the free, in the land of diversity.

It was a Tuesday, two days after our mother was killed, that my brother Kamal and I ate the leftovers of the last meal she had made for us. We ate her last rotis – which are a type of South Asian flatbread. She had made these rotis from scratch the night before she died. Along with the last bite of our food that Tuesday came the realization that this was the last meal, made by my mother’s hands mother’s hands that we will ever eat in our lifetime.

My mother was a brilliant woman. Everyone knew she was smart, but she never had the chance to get a formal education. She couldn’t. As a hard-working immigrant, she had to work long hours to feed her family, to get her sons educated, to help us achieve our American dreams. This was more important to her than anything else.

Senators, my mother was our biggest fan, our biggest supporter. She was always there for us. She always had a smile on her face.

But now she’s gone. Because of a man who hated her because she wasn’t his color? His religion?

I just had my first day of college, and my mother wasn’t there to send me off. She won’t be there on my graduation, or my wedding day. She won’t be there to meet her grandchildren.

I want to tell the gunman who took her from me: You may have been full of hate, but my mother was full of love.

She was an American. And this was not our American dream.






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