Today marks six months since the mass shooting of Sikhs in their place of worship by a white supremacist in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. In recognition of this span of time, filmmakers Valarie Kaur and Sharat Raju released a short film entitled Oak Creek: In Memoriam which recounts that fateful moment and the days since.
On this day, the Sikh Coalition provided an update about their activities in the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, area in educating city officials, law enforcement and school administrators about the Sikh faith. Of particular note is the training that local Sikhs received to provide presentations about the Sikh faith in their community. In the hope that dispelling ignorance will lead to greater understanding, it is inspiring to see the community’s Sikhs step forward to reach out after their tragedy.
Today, the massacre in Oak Creek is often discussed in the context of the gun control debate. The city’s mayor, Steve Scaffidi, in his meetings with the President, has taken up the cause personally and with diligence in support of the Sikh community in his city:
“My life has changed. I feel that every day. I promised that community, the Sikh community, and our community at large that I’d do something about it.”
Education and gun control are certainly important aspects to discuss in relation to the tragedy in Oak Creek. But, unlike many of the other recent mass murders, we are fairly certain about the motive behind this attack on Sikhs. So, let us also continue to foster a meaningful discussion about hate violence and the white supremacy movement with our policy makers and law agencies. So long as hate groups and the causes they advocate are allowed to persist unchecked, we cannot be assured that such an event will never happen again.