From our friends and colleagues at SALDEF
(August 5th 2013 - Oak Creek, WI) – On this, the first anniversary of the Oak Creek tragedy, Sikhs around the country are gathering in memory of the six departed souls and to pray for Bhai Punjab Singh, who is still in the hospital and Bhai Santokh Singh who is recovering from injuries. We remember and hold dear those six souls who lost their lives on that day—Paramjit Kaur Saini, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Prakash Singh, Suvegh Singh Khattra, and Satwant Singh Kaleka – and reflect on the heroism of both Satwant Singh Kaleka and Lt. Brian Murphy.
SALDEF Executive Director, Jasjit Singh, was privileged to be in Oak Creek to experience the resilient spirit of the sangat first-hand. A “Chardhi Kala 6k Walk / Run” was organized by local Oak Creek youth on Saturday which was attended by Sikhs from all over the country and included representatives from the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Read more about the event here: Hundreds Support Sikh Community
Read more: Hundreds support Sikh community Chardi Kala 6K Run/Walk
Additionally, the Oak Creek Gurdwara held a divaan yesterday in memory of the attack. The service was attended by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike, with civic leaders in attendence including the Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Brown, US Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and Oak Creek Mayor, Steven Scaffidi. Lieutenant Murphy, the first officer to the scene last year, who was shot over a dozen times and critically wounded, also gave remarks.
“Despite the deep loss we have all felt as a result of this tragedy, the Oak Creek community and Sikhs around the country have responded admirably with a unified message of service and compassion - exemplifying the Sikh tradition of chardhi kala,” said Jasjit Singh, SALDEF Executive Director. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Oak Creek during this time. We ask for strength for them and pray for the recovery of Bhai Punjab Singh and Bhai Santokh Singh.”
SALDEF will continue to stay engaged with and provide partnership and assistance to the Oak Creek Sangat.
Resources for Continued Community Outreach
As you continue to engage with your local communities by arranging vigils, setting up open-houses at your gurdwaras, or finding unique ways to raise awareness about Sikhs, SALDEF offers the resources and tools below — including a set of talking points developed in conjunction with various Sikh organizations — to help make your efforts successful and productive.
• HOW TO GUIDE: Organizing a Gurdwara Open House
• HOW TO GUIDE: Organizing a Vigil in Your Local Community
• BROCHURE: Who are the Sikhs
• HANDOUT: Welcome to the Gurdwara
• FACT SHEET: Sikh American Fact Sheet
• VIDEO: Inside a Sikh Gurdwara (CNN)
• WEBSITE: Learn About Sikhs