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Candlelight Vigil Held In D.C. For Victims Of Wisconsin Shooting

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Members of the Sikh faith offered their prayers for the victims of Sunday's tragic shootings in front of the White House.
Markette Smith
Members of the Sikh faith offered their prayers for the victims of Sunday's tragic shootings in front of the White House.

Members of the Sikh faith held a candlelight vigil in front of the White House Wednesday night to remember the victims of the deadly temple shooting in a suburb of Milwaukee. 

Hastily organized through a group invite on Facebook, support for tonight's vigil grew quickly, with more than 1,300 people pledging to attend. Men with bright orange, red and blue turbans gathered, along with women of the Sikh faith and other supporters.

The main message members of Washington's Sikh community wanted to get out to the world is that they are not too different from the average American. 

"I was born in this country. I watched Sesame Street, I watched Full House," said Natasha Kaur, a doctor at George Washington University. "I'm American just like anyone else. I haven't felt any different than anyone of my America peers and friends."

She spoke at the candle light vigil in front of a crowd of hundreds gathered in Lafayette Park to remember the seven people who lost their lives at the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, including the gunman. Wade Michael Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after going on a shooting rampage just before Sunday morning services.

Kaur wants to focus not on his actions, but on what she calls his illness. 

"It's a disease. It's a disease of hate. Movie theaters, schools, houses of worship. It's blind. It's just against humans and Americans."

Attendees said a prayer for the people who lost their lives at the hands of a gunman, who went on a rampage just before Sunday morning services at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. But the vigil was not just about the victims of the Wisconsin shooting, said organizers.

"And so we're here to not only commemorate those who passed away in the Wisconsin, but those who passed away in the Colorado shooting, as well as the shooting with Gabby Giffords," said organizer Dilroop Sidhu.

The vigil Wednesday night will be followed by a National Moment of Reflection this Sunday.

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