In 2021, the internet was filled with news about the mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility. Sikhs were in the media spotlight for months because of the brutal killing of victims, Amarjeet Johal and Jaswinder Singh. Let’s have a magnified look at their lives as followers of Sikhism. 

Amarjeet Johal 

Amarjeet Johal was one of the eight individuals who tragically lost their lives in the FedEx shooting. Her family spoke to News 8. Her son Narinder Johal describes her as one of a kind. Narinder Johal shared that even if someone had only met his mother once, they would never forget her. She had a kind heart and would offer food to total strangers if it meant helping them. Losing her has been extremely difficult for the family.

Amarjeet Johal worked at FedEx for around five years and was well-liked at work, and many of her colleagues referred to her as "aunt." Her son mentioned that spending a couple of hours with her would be unforgettable. She adored her five grandchildren and loved spending time with them. Her family had recently moved to Indiana from California so that she could be closer to them.

Narinder Johal shared that his mother loved simple things in life, and cooking was one of her passions. She enjoyed cooking for anyone, regardless of who they were or what the weather was like. Even when it was snowing outside, she would open the garage a little to cook. The family has been overwhelmed with support from hundreds of people offering their condolences. Narinder Johal felt blessed to have had a mother like her, and he was touched that the country had lowered its flags in her honour.

In light of this tragedy, Narinder Johal had a message for the community, urging them to stay away from weapons and to find peaceful solutions to problems. He bought the house they lived in together because it made his mother happy. She would often look around the balcony and be pleased with how her family was doing.

Amarjeet Johal's legacy lives on within her family, and her son hopes to be like her someday. He shared that his colleagues at work would even call her "mom" because she would make food for them like burritos and sweets.

Jaswinder Singh 

Jaswinder Singh, a 68-year-old resident of Greenwood, Indiana, was another  of  the eight victims who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Jaswinder Singh had recently started working at the facility, joining some of his Sikh community friends who also worked there. According to Jaspal Singh, one of his relatives, Jaswinder Singh had taken the job because he was bored at home.

Jaswinder Singh had moved to Greenwood three years ago to be with his family, including his son Gurinder Singh, who also lived in the area. He was a husband, a father to three children, and a grandfather to five grandchildren. He was an active member of the Sikh community and regularly attended the temple in Greenwood. He enjoyed taking walks in the park and talking to people.

Jaswinder Singh was described as having a big heart and being a friend to everyone he met. Four of the eight victims in the shooting were members of the Sikh community, and the community has come together to support Jaswinder Singh’s family and the families of the other victims. The City of Greenwood has also offered its condolences and support.

 The loss of Jaswinder Singh has deeply affected his family and the entire community.

Time to speak up and represent the Sikh community 

As a scholar of race and religion, in a writeup, Simran Jeet Singh acknowledges that writing a children's book may not gain much recognition from academic peers, but as a racial justice activist, it is urgent work. The author believes that it is unacceptable that young adults are ill-equipped to deal with the diversity of the world and that the process of seeing the humanity in everyone they meet must start at a young age.

The media's coverage of Sikhs in modern America is another area of concern that he points out. Media only pays attention to Sikh communities after a tragedy occurs, such as the 2021 shooting in Indianapolis, the 2013 brutal beating of a Sikh professor in New York City, the 2012 massacre of Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the 2001 murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi. Simran Jeet believes that it is too late to provide introductory information on Sikhs after the damage is done.

He suggests that if the media wants to cover diverse communities responsibly and with authenticity, it requires proactive effort, such as finding stories that are typically unrepresented, finding sources that are typically ignored, and finding angles that are typically overlooked. Simran Jeet believes that inclusive reporting is not just about representing underrepresented communities but also showing the complexities that they all carry. Doing so helps go beyond overly simplified and inaccurate assumptions about one another, including the unintentional stereotypes produced when only talking about Sikhs in moments of tragedy.


*Based on three articles- by David Williams in Wish Tv on 20th April 2021, - by Emily Ketterer in Daily Journal on 21st April 2021, and -by Simran Jeet Singh in NBCU Academy on 6th May 2021


Add a Comment