Fund set up for shooting victims

Members of the Sikh community hold a memorial to the victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin last week.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Two Asian-American civil rights organizations have decided to put up a fund for the benefit of the victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.

The Organization of Chinese-Americans  (OCA) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) put up the money to support the families of the victims and the police officer who was seriously hurt in the attack.

“This fund reflects our collective value to ensure that all members of the Asian Pacific American community are supported especially in times of tragedy,”  said Ken Lee,  the OCA president.

OCA Executive Director Tom Hayahsi said the gesture is an affirmation of solidarity with the Sikh community in the United States.

“As a pan-Asian civil rights organization, out of this very unfortunate incident, we draw inspiration to continue our fight against all forms of hate crimes and to stand by our Sikh sisters and brothers in this very difficult time,” he said.

The initial amount for the fund was not announced, but OCA and JACL will accept donations, which are tax-deductible.

The money will be used defray the costs of medical bills, funeral expenses, psychological counseling and sustaining the lives of the family members left behind.

“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with and OCA as well as the Sikh American community leadership to provide our members and supporters with a way to show our support for all of those affected by this tragedy,” said Priscilla Ouchida, JACL executive director.

OCA and JACL will work in partnership with the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF).

Seven people were killed including the alleged gunman, Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage at Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. last Sunday.

The people wounded in the attack, including the police officer who was shot eight or nine times, are progressing in their recoveries.

According to the hospital where they are recuperating, Lt. Brian Murphy is now in satisfactory condition. Punjab Singh, 65, is still in critical condition, requiring mechanical support to breathe, after suffering a gunshot wound to the face.

The hospital said Singh may also have subsequently suffered a stroke. Santokh Singh, 50, is in serious condition after he had surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.

To contribute to the fund, visit www.jacl.org or www.ocanational.org. Donations for this fund will be collected until August 31, 2012.

Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter@vegaspinoy60, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BertEljera and on http://www.examiner.com/ethnic-culture-in-las-vegas/bert-eljera

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