While the Turlock Sikh Temple has been a part of the community for over 30 years, not many non-Sikhs know much about the temple or the people who worship there. The Jakara Movement is hoping to raise awareness of the Sikh community to all residents of Turlock by hosting a ‘Know Your Neighbor’ event this week.
“We want to get to know our neighbors and let them know who we are; invite them to the temple because it is in their neighborhood,” said Jasmin Kaur, community organizer for the Jakara Movement at Stanislaus State.
The ‘Know Your Neighbor’ event will begin on Thursday night, when Turlock-area Sikh students will walk the area around the temple — located on the corner of 5th Street and Linwood Avenue — and greet all the families living nearby. At this time, the group will also publicize their intent to hand out 100 pizzas in the neighborhood from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
Kaur said the free pizzas are a way for members of the Sikh Temple to thank the neighborhood for being supportive of the religious community.
“The community has always been very supportive of everything we do,” said Kaur.
On Saturday, there will be an open house at the Sikh Temple from 10 a.m. to noon for the public to take a tour of the facility and enjoy some free snacks.
While Kaur said that the Turlock Sikh community has received a lot of support in the past, violent incidents against Sikhs in other areas prompted this education outreach campaign by the Jakara Movement.
A 39-year old Sikh man was shot outside of his Kent, Washington home on March 2. The suspect told the Sikh man to “go back to his country.”
In 2013, 82-year-old Piara Singh was leaving his Fresno-area temple when he was attacked and beaten with a steel pipe by Gilbert Garcia. Singh was in a coma for two days and hospitalized for a week with head wounds, broken ribs and lung lacerations. During the beating, Garcia shouted anti-Muslim slurs.
“One of things that I have noticed is a lot of people think Sikhs are Muslims, but we’re a completely different religion. It’s not okay to hate on anyone, but we want to let the community know what Sikhs are all about,” said Kaur.