August 9th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
By Anna-Lysa Gayle, CNN
The event's organizers wore T-shirts that said “United against Hate” and distributed orange ribbons, one of the colors on the Sikh flag. Some Sikhs wore orange turbans as a symbol of pride.
“I wanted to have a vigil where it was everybody together in the nation’s capital, in front of the White House," said Sabrina Mangat, a Howard University senior who helped organize the vigil.
"This represents America, when you see overseas - when you have something of the White House - they automatically know that’s American,” Mangat said.
Mangat learned of the Wisconsin shooting while sitting in her local Sikh temple.
“The thing is I do stick out. I am a minority," she said. "At the end of the day, I’m still American. I still hold an American passport.”
Similar vigils are happening across the country this week.
The Washington vigil included members of the Muslim community, many of whom say they feel a special bond with Sikhs. Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Muslims.
A Muslim house of worship in Joplin, Missouri, burned down this week, though the cause of the fire is still unknown.
“I’m here in solidarity with my Sikhs brothers and sisters, who suffered from an incredible tragedy, and I want to let them know that we’re here to support them as a Muslim," said Sameerah Siddiqui, a Muslim attendee at the vigil.
The event featured speakers, with volunteers standing in back of them holding up an image of Wade Michael Page, who authorities said killed himself after the attack, and other victims.
“We have Sikh speakers and we also have non-Sikh speakers, just to show that it’s a universal message. It’s not limited to just our community," said Gursean Singh, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland who helped organize the vigil.
Attendees signed a banner that will be sent to the families of the Wisconsin temple victims.
Volunteers distributed vegetarian food like wraps and sweets, explaining that Sikhs see food as a symbol of equality.
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