Durham, N.C. — A Sikh congregation in Durham reached out Sunday with prayer and action to the hurting in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren, seven adults and himself more than a week ago.
"The idea is that even though we're not physically there with them that we're there in spirit and that we can sort of do anything that is in our power to help them," said Herman Kaur, 18, a member of Sikh Gurudwara on East Banner Street.
Avneet Sdanu, 7, performed a hymn during a prayer service dedicated to the victims and families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"I'm doing this prayer to just pray for them and make their families happy," Avneet said.
This Sikh community had a similar taste of tragedy in August, when six people were shot and killed at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee. The Durham Sikh temple held a similar prayer service then, too.
"It hurts just as much today for the events of last Friday than a few months ago in Wisconsin," said congregant Kulpreet Singh.
Sunday's service included a discussion of mental illness and how to deal with tragedy. The congregation made a plaque in honor of the 27 victims of the Connecticut shooting and will send it to Newton later this week.
"(We want) to learn from these events and mold our lives going forward," Singh said. "How can we try to prevent them, and how can we better cope with them?"