UCSC event to reflect on cultural tolerance in wake of tragic shooting at Sikh Temple

event poster
Nirvikar Singh
Nirvikar Singh, UCSC's Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies (above); and Nathaniel Deutsch, director of the Institute for Humanities Research, co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies, and professor of history at UCSC (below).
Nathaniel Deutsch

Last August, a lone gunman opened fire at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six people and wounding four others.

The tragic shooting drew strong reactions from people around the world, including President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. 

On Thursday, November 15, UC Santa Cruz will present a panel discussion and dinner to explore what can be learned from the Wisconsin tragedy, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at UCSC’s Cowell Conference Room.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The event was initiated by the UCSC Sikh Students Association with support from Professor Nirvikar Singh, Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of UCSC’s new Sikh and Punjabi Studies program; and the campus’s Institute for Humanities Research.

The Sikh Students Association (SSA) serves as a place at UCSC for Sikhs and all other students interested in Sikh/Punjabi issues and culture to come together to learn from each other.

“We encourage people of all backgrounds to become members so that we can have a better understanding and acceptance for each other,” said Navdeep Kaur, a volunteer for the organization.

“The role of SSA in this event is to make the UCSC community aware of the tragic incident that occurred during the summer in Wisconsin and to see what we can learn from it so that we can prevent it from happening in the future,” she added.

The speakers on the panel will include:

Nathaniel Deutsch--director of UCSC’s Institute for Humanities Research, and co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies and professor of history at UCSC.

Seema Kaur Sidhu--the United Sikhs Regional Director for Community Empowerment and Education and Business Development. She works with Sikh youth in promoting health awareness, empowering new youth leaders and engaging them in education and social justice initiatives. She is also a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist.

Amrit Kaur Sidhu--a United Sikhs intern, who graduated from UCSC in June 2012 with a BS in Human Biology and a Politics minor.

Nirvikar Singh--the UCSC Sarbjit Singh Aurora Chair of Sikh and Punjabi Studies and professor of economics.

Professor Singh will serve as moderator for the panel, and William Ladusaw, dean of UCSC’s Humanities Division, will provide opening remarks.

The panel will be followed at 6:30 p.m. by a dinner and informal discussion.

“I hope that by attending the event, people will gain an understanding of the Sikhs as a community, appreciation for the diversity of modern America, and a rediscovery of the ideals of this country,” Singh noted.

For more information—or to RSVP for the dinner—please contact  Courtney Mahaney at (831) 459-3527 or cmahaney@ucsc.edu.

To find out more about Sikh Studies at UCSC, visit the web site