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The California Channel- Video on Demand_1302553320799.jpegA handful of lawmakers donned traditional Sikh headdress on the Senate floor Monday to honor two turbaned Sikh men shot while on a walk in Elk Grove last month.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, joined by Sikhs from the greater Sacramento area, said the gesture was meant to show solidarity and unity in the wake of the March 4 shooting, which left 65-year-old Surinder Singh dead and 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal critically injured.

"No Sikh should be afraid to wear this headdress. No Sikh should be afraid to practice their peaceful religion because they believe someone will attack them," the Sacramento Democrat, wearing a purple turban, said.

Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Richvale, called on colleagues to support those impacted by the attack, calling the Sikh community in his district "very kind, a very open loving people."

Police have not arrested any suspects in the shooting, which was believed by many to be a hate crime, as local leaders offer rewards exceeding $42,000 for information on the incident.

Lawmakers speaking on the floor emphasized looking beyond a conviction, focusing on embracing diversity and promoting religious and cultural tolerance.

"Those responsible clearly have to be brought to justice, but it is more important that we dedicate ourselves to respecting other cultures, to making sure our state and our citizens respect and revel in the diversity of our communities," said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. "We are all Sikhs today and we are all Americans."

Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, also wore a turban on the floor while Wolk, and Democratic Sens. Elaine Alquist and Ellen Corbett wore headscarves.

Steinberg presented the son of Atwal with a resolution on the floor and the upper house adjourned in memory of Singh. He urged colleagues to join him at a Wednesday morning solidarity rally on the West Steps of the Capitol.

PHOTO CREDIT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg honors on the Senate floor two Sikh men gunned down in an unsolved March shooting in Elk Grove. Screen shot taken of CalChannel.com broadcast of floor session.



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