Sikh temple victim's sons to testify on Capitol Hill
OAK CREEK - In the living room of their home, Harpreet and Kamaljit Saini told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray they are not confident public speakers.
"Before we couldn't even speak in a class of 24 and now, me and him are speaking to thousands of people. That's amazing," Harpreet said.
They are getting ready to address powerful politicians and national media cameras on Capitol Hill. Harpreet, 18, and Kamaljit, 20, will appear in front of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. They are brothers and best friends. They lost their beloved mother Paramjit Kaur in the shooting rampage at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
"To be honest, what I miss most is the yelling," Kamaljit recounted with a smile. "She would get out of work at 3:00. As soon as she would get out the door, she'd call me, 'where are you?'"
"She would be home and I would make tea for her at this time," Harpreet added. "She would be here and if I didn't make tea for her, she would yell at me."
The hearing is called "Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism." Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice and FBI leaders will also appear.
Paramjit brought her sons from India to Wisconsin in 2004 seeking the American dream. She became a victim of one this nation's worst acts of violence.
"For somebody who was so close to both of our hearts, from them to be gone that fast, it's just unbelievable," said Kamaljit
In front of the influential subcommittee, Harpreet and Kamaljit will call for the government to track hate crimes against Sikhs and for closer monitoring of supremacists like temple gunman Wade Page.
"If you can't call this terrorism than what is? Define terrorism. You don't have to be a foreigner to be called a terrorist," said Kamaljit. "This was an act of terrorism."
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) is on the subcommittee that will hear the testimony.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele plans to attend.
"The deadly temple shooting happened in our community but I know the pain of it was felt across the country," Abele said in a statement. "I applaud Senator Durbin and others on the subcommittee who are taking this issue so seriously and talking about solutions. We need to make sure something like this never happens again."
The hearing is set for 1:30 CST Wednesday.