Sikh organizations work to help with emergency visas, mental health resources following mass shooting

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GREENWOOD, Ind. — We all continue mourning those we lost one week ago in the FedEx mass shooting, while also coming together in solidarity. We honor the eight victims lost in this tragedy, four of whom are Sikh.

As we speak, families abroad are trying to get to Indiana as quickly as possible to pay their final respects to their loved ones in-person. The United Sikhs is an organization that can help people navigate governmental processes, like securing an emergency visa.

“The challenge that families overseas suffer first is through language,” Volunteer Attorney Jaspreet Kaur said. “They don’t understand the process very well, the immigration law is inevitably very complex, not every information is easily available to them.”

Compound this process with the shock and grief of losing a loved one in a mass shooting, and it becomes more challenging. That is why United Sikhs wants to help.

“We go through the process, we understand the process, we understand what can be done, look at the consulate level if we need to talk to department of justice, or state department in situations like these, we are willing and available to do that too,” Jaspreet said.

The Greenwood community came together Thursday night to show support and unity with their Sikh neighbors. This tragedy has exposed the need for resources to move forward.

“I think what’s the most tragic part is that we’re seeing that these shootings, they’re being normalized, but no one actually talks about the PTSD that everyone’s left with,” Taniya Kaur, with Lok-E Indy, said. “Not just the victims or the families or friends, but just the community as a whole.”

Lok-E Indy is a group working to empower Sikh youth in the Indianapolis area. They urged people not to become numb to what happened here last Thursday.

“For the youth, we’re hoping that we can somehow pave a path where this is not normalized anymore, and that we become a community where they grow up in a safe environment, where they feel safe going to work, going to school,” Jassie Nijjar said.

Some community members hope people will make a plan for events that were unimaginable to many in Indy prior to April 15.

“You should plan for the worst, to where if something like this does happen, nobody’s scrambling to find out like, ‘hey who can we reach out to help families out,’” Amrinder Singh said.

Along with Lok-E Indy and United Sikhs, you can learn more about the Sikh community at www.sikhcoalition.org.

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