November 6, 2009 (Washington, DC) - Our national Sikh organizations offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wounded in the acts of violence at Fort Hood, Texas yesterday that left 13 dead and 31 wounded. We unequivocally condemn the actions of the alleged assailant. We are united in concern and sympathy for the victims and their families, and for the community at Fort Hood. We urge community members to explore how they can provide support and resources to address the impact of this violence. As Sikhs, we are regrettably aware that, in the past, similar tragedies have led to the scapegoating of entire communities based on actual or perceived ethnicity, religion, and national origin. We call on political leaders, the media, and the public to set a tone of unity as the investigation unfolds and the healing process begins. We also join together to offer the following recommendations for the Sikh community in order to stay safe from possible misguided retributive violence: (1) Be Street Smart to Keep Yourself Safe · Click here to review personal safety tips (2) Develop Proactive Relationships with Local Law Enforcement Contact your local police department Ask them to work with your community on hate crimes prevention Ask them to step up patrols around local Gurdwaras Here is a sample message that you can use via email or telephone: Based on the apparent ethnicity of the assailant in the Fort Hood shootings, I am concerned about the possibility of backlash against members of the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities. Please ensure that an emergency bulletin is issued to local law enforcement agencies and community members to ensure that police officers and the communities they serve take appropriate precautionary measures. (3) Know What to Do in Case of an Emergency Punjabi Brochure on Hate Crimes Prevention - California What You Can Do If You Are a Victim of a Crime Checklist for Hate Crime Victims (4) Contact Our Organizations if You or Someone You Know is in Danger or a Victim of a Hate Crime We are working with our partners in the federal government to implement a national rapid response system to ensure that the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities are safeguarded from hate crimes. As always, the Sikh Coalition urges all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly.