NEW YORK: Young Harpreet Singh Saini, who lost his mother in the racist attack on the Sikh temple at Oak Creek on August 5, testified before a Senate hearing committee on Wednesday.
Over 400 people watched Saini deliver an emotional tribute to his mother, who was one of six worshipers who were killed by a white supremacist. Harpreet also made history by being the first Sikh to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing, a Press release by the Sikh Coalition said..
With his brother Kamaljit by his side, and backed by Oak Creek community members Amardeep and Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, Harpreet moved the hearing room to tears with his courageous and heartfelt testimony, saying “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.”
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, paid tributes to the Oak Creek community by displaying photographs of those who lost their lives: Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suvegh Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka.
The United States Justice Department representative at the hearing stated that by “mid-October” the decision of his department on the longstanding Sikh demand to create an anti-Sikh hate crime category “would be known.”
The historic hearing was convened after more than 150 organizations, led by the Sikh Coalition, requested the hearing in a joint letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 21.
The Coalition thanked Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin for his leadership in convening the hearing.