Remembering the Victims of Oak Creek

On the third anniversary of the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that killed six people, author Anisha Singh reflects on how the Sikh community has come together to advocate for forgiveness and raise awareness in the face of continued hate crimes against American Sikhs.

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Three years ago on August 5, 2012, a gunman with ties to white supremacist organizations entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, while Sikh Americans were praying and opened fire. Six innocent members of the Sikh faith were fatally shot, with many others wounded, and an entire faith community was terrorized. At the time, the massacre was deemed the largest act of violence on a faith community since the 1963 church bombings in Birmingham, Alabama.

I remember that day very clearly: Sitting in my parent’s living room watching the breaking news, I felt as though the wind was knocked out of me. My family and I had been going to our local South Florida Sikh temple my entire life, and we never thought that our house of worship could be attacked while we prayed. Despite the fear of another attack, perhaps at our Sikh temple this time, we went to worship that night, surrounded by police officers for security. Everyone was solemn, and many were in tears. As we prayed for the victims, it was very clear that our community had been shattered.

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