by We Are Sikhs — August 03, 2017
Remembering Oak Creek
The Sikh gurdwara is not only a place where we pray, learn, worship and connect with those of our faith, it is also the holiest place we visit each week. The gurdwara is warm, welcoming and safe for all who enter.
But at 10:30am on August 5, 2012 – that changed.
An armed man entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and opened fire, taking the lives of six Sikh Americans, and injuring four more.
It was a devastating tragedy for Oak Creek, and for the entire Sikh community.
We will never forget the six Sikh Americans who lost their lives that day. Nor will we forget the brave responders who rushed to help.
Lt. Brian Murphy was the first officer on the scene. He was shot 15 times while protecting the Sikh Americans who were still inside the gurdwara. We are forever grateful to Lt. Murphy and the entire Oak Creek Police Department for their bravery.
As we mark the five-year anniversary of this horrific act that forever changed the Sikh community, our gurdwaras still stand as a symbol of peace and community service.
Instead of retaliating with violence, Sikhs from all across the world unite in kindness and love. We remain dedicated to sharing our common bonds with our neighbors and serving the communities of this great nation.
This wasn’t just a Sikh tragedy – it was an American tragedy.
It opened our eyes to the intolerance in communities across our nation, and the need for equality and understanding of our values and our differences. But, out of the darkness of this day came the hope for a brighter future. A future in which we are united by the things that may currently divide us and strengthen us as neighbors, as a community, and as a nation.
On August 5th, keep Oak Creek and the families who lost their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers – but also take action. Honor the memory of those lost by doing your part to help bridge the gap in your community. Take the time to learn more about Sikhs, and the many values that unite us as a community, and as Americans.
And on Sunday, August 6th, we invite you to join us at a gurdwara near you for a welcoming langar meal – to learn more about our values, honor the memory of those lost at Oak Creek, and help us build a brighter, more united future.