The Sikh Motorcycle Club rode from the Stockton Gurdwara in Stockton, California to the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin for the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek Gurdwara Massacre.
The Stockton Gurdwara has a special place in the Sikh American community, being the first Sikh temple built in the United States.
“Ride Against Hate” was meant to bring the community together for a cross-country ride by motorcycle enthusiasts against hate incidents. Their goal was also to spread positivity and educate people on the Sikh religion.
“Every time we make a stop we are educating people about what the turban is,” said Tejpaul Singh Bainiwal, one of the Sikh Motorcycle Club members. “We are educating fellow Americans about who we are, and what the Sikh faith stands for. We stopped by a few towns where we had the chance to interact with the locals. We were some of the first Sikhs they have ever seen.”
The group of Sikh motorcyclists traveled 2,700 miles and stopped along the way at places like Mesa, Arizona to meet with the family of one of the first victims of a Sikh hate crime post-9/11.
On August 5, 2012, a mass shooting motivated by hate left 6 worshipers dead at the Oak Creek Gurdwara, and one in a long-term coma until his death on March 2, 2020.
According to FBI data, hate crimes against Sikhs have increased 15 percent between 2015 and 2020. The FBI only started gathering that data on hate crimes three years after the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek.
“This journey has been a chance to reflect on the Sikh-American experience, and how the Sikh community has responded to these sort of events motivated by hate,” added Singh Bainiwal.
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