When Acceptance is the Greatest Leader

By Kristin Schepici on August 14, 2012

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As most of our readers know, we host an Institute for Leading Diversity & Inclusion™ every spring in Atlanta. As a leadership development company, we recognize the importance of leaders stepping up in times of turmoil and crisis. The most recent tragedy to hit the Sikh community earlier this month that left six Sikh worshippers dead after a shooting rampage at a temple in Wisconsin got us thinking about the role that diversity plays in our everyday lives, both professionally and personally.

Rahuldeep Singh Gill, assistant professor of religion and Associate Director for the Center for Equality and Justice at California Lutheran University, recently posted a piece titled Peaceful religion a target. As a teacher of global religions, his post identifies who the Sikhs are, growing up Sikh in America and the decisions he and his wife must make with raising their baby as a Sikh.

Professor Gill explains that his religion is one that teaches that all people are equal under God and that we should seek  justice in this world. His religion’s core values include love, gratitude for God’s gifts, and perseverance in the face of hardship. His religion’s prayers state that all people are deserving of respect and  honor, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or nationality. For a religion that teaches peace and acceptance, why is it so feared and attacked by bigots seeking targets of their ignorant hatred? The values of the Sikh, mirror those of Americans. To read his full post, click here>>

Five days following the vicious attack, a memorial service was held.  In the clip below, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the memorial attendees and praises the Sikh community for rising above this violent act.

“As Americans we are one. When you attack one of us, you attack all of us,” Walker said. “This week, our friends and neighbors in the Sikh community showed us the best way to respond is with love,” he continued.

“The love people in America have shown us has strengthened our resolve,” said Dr. Manminder Singh Sethi, a temple member who helped usher mourners to seats. “This was an isolated case. We are a simple living people.”

“My heart goes out to the family of the assailant too,” Sethi added. “That life was also a life lost.”

 

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