Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #173 today, ordering the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin, to be flown at half-staff, today, marking the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting, that occurred just north of Racine County.
Remember Oak Creek, a project sponsored by the Sikh Coalition, the nation’s largest Sikh civil rights organization, shared, “on August 5, 2012, a white nationalist entered a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin – and opened fire.”
A decade ago, members of the congregation were preparing for Sunday school classes, and services moments before the tragedy. Additionally, they were preparing food for langar, a free community meal served at the gurdwara, to any and all visitors, when the attack occurred.
7 deaths as a result
According to WISN, the incident resulted in the death of:
- Paramjit Kaur, 41, was the lone female killed in the attack
- Prakash Singh, 39
- Sita Singh, 41
- Ranjit Singh, 49
- Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65
- Suveg Singh, 84
- Punjab Singh, 72, who died in 2020 as a result of injuries from the shooting, per the New York Times
“This anniversary represents a painful day for our state and so many Wisconsinites—especially for the now seven people whose friends and families mourn their passing, the many others still grappling with their injuries and trauma every day, and the many worshippers, loved ones, and neighbors who either witnessed the violence themselves or who’ve helped provide support, comfort, and healing to those who did,” said Gov. Evers.
In addition to those who lost their lives, several others on the scene were injured, including former Oak Creek Lt. Brian Murphy and Officer Savan “Sam” Lenda of the Oak Creek Police Department. Both received The Medal of Valor in 2015, from, then-Vice President, Joe Biden and United States Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Kathy and I join the people of Wisconsin in honoring the people whose lives were taken, the extraordinary efforts of those who prevented more loss of life, and each person forever changed and affected by this tragedy,” reflected Evers. “We pray for their optimism, for their strength, and for them to find peace.”
The act of violence has left open wounds, emotionally, for many, even years later.
“We are grateful to Governor Evers for joining our community in recognizing this important anniversary,” said a Sikh Temple of Wisconsin spokesperson. “Together, we will continue to persevere in the Sikh spirit of chardi kala—relentless optimism in the face of struggle—as we push for a society free from fear or hate.”
Action and support is need, still, 10 years later. Sikh Temple of Wisconsin has a variety of events scheduled. Events are open to the public.
|Date||Event & Information|
|Friday, Aug. 5||10-Year Remembrance Vigil at Sikh Temple of WI will take place from 6-9 p.m. at 7512 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek, WI. No registration is needed, all are welcome to attend.|
|Saturday, Aug. 6||Chardi Kala Community Event will take place from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. While registration is not required to attend this event, if you plan to attend any of the workshops, please register using this link.|
|Saturday, Aug. 6||Workshops|
-11:15 a.m. to noon: Civil Rights/Hate Crimes Presentation
-12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.: What is the current threat level, what resources are available and how can communities protect themselves?
-1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Interfaith Bridgebuilding
-2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Youth Mobilization Workshop
|Sunday, Aug. 7||Akhand Path will take place at 10:30 a.m.|
at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
|Sunday, Aug. 7||Kirtan will take place at 10:30 a.m.|
at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
More from the Sikh Coalition
Per Sikh Coalition, in addition to “supporting commemorative events and other remembrance activities, the Sikh Coalition has partnered with the Revolutionary Love Project and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund to launch an advocacy tool that will help all Americans–Sikh and non-Sikh alike, to tell their members of Congress to move three critical pieces of legislation forward.
They are asking community members to “Take two minutes to fill in your information and contact your elected officials automatically today.”
They are focused on getting the following 3 pieces of legislation passed:
- Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act
- Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act
- Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act