Facing Tragedy, from One Town to Another | Not in Our Town

Facing Tragedy, from One Town to Another


Heartfelt Messages from Oak Creek, WI to Charleston, SC

This week, Charleston, SC grieves over the loss of nine worshippers from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, after a gunman opened fire during a midweek prayer meeting. The suspect in this hate fueled attack in a historic Black church is now in custody.

For Oak Creek, WI citizens, the tragedy in Charleston is particularly resonant. In 2012, a white supremacist walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and killed six worshippers and injured a police lieutenant, who was shot 15 times. Their story is featured in Not In Our Town documentary, Waking in Oak Creek.

Today we share with you messages from Oak Creek to Charleston. Please add your own words below or via our Facebook page. Join us in this hard work to stop hate, together.

Steve Scaffidi is the mayor of Oak Creek, WI.

Scaffidi Oak Creek

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi and Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka
at the Chardi Kala 6K Memorial Run.

As the mayor of the City of Oak Creek, which suffered through an act of hate and violence in a place of worship, I have a heavy heart hearing the news from South Carolina. Our community grieves with the victim's families and all Americans who see this as an attack on the rich diversity of our country and the right to celebrate one's faith. This thoughtless loss of life should serve as an inspiration and a call to action that we still have much work to do.

Pardeep Kaleka is an educator and community leader from Oak Creek. He lost his father, Satwant Kaleka, in the temple attack.

Pardeep and Arno
Pardeep Kaleka and Arno Michaelis, co-founders of Serve 2 Unite.

Prayers and Purpose to all. Healing to the families and congregation. The days change, but the question remains the same, "WHY".

We could go into history, racial tension, lack of political courage from Politicians, A live by the Gun culture, or what Terrorism looks like domestically.

How about we just start with the "why" is us, we have become comfortably complacent. We point fingers of blame, but seldom raise our own hands in responsibility.

Today is a reminder that tomorrow is not promised, at least not on this earth, so live in the promise of today, and the purpose of right now. Peace

Brian Murphy was a lieutenant for the Oak Creek Police Department and was shot 15 times while defending the Temple.

Brian Murphy Oak Creek
Oak Creek Officer Sam Lenda and Lt. Brian Murphy at the Chardi
Kala 6K Memorial Run.

There aren't any words that will take away the pain. There is only my heartfelt thoughts and prayers I can offer. I cannot believe this has happened again, senseless violence perpetrated by ignorance.

Be strong, be together and pray that one day everyone will be capable of true understanding

Never let the acts of the evil usurp the love of God and one another

Kamal Singh and his brother Harpreet lost their mother in the hate crime killings at the Temple.

Amardeep Singh Kaleka, Harpreet Saini, Kamal Saini and Amardeep
Kaleka in Washington, D.C. at the Senate hearing on hate crimes.
Photo Credit: Russell Brammer

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that...hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that."

To the families of charleston we mourn with you and we pray with you. I woke up with a heavy heart today, as if i relived Aug 5th 2012...may god give you the strength he once gave me 3 years ago...today we mourn the passing of our loved ones but starting tomorrow we celebrate their lives forever and on. They are never gone or lost but are now part of us forever ‪#‎charleston‬

Rahul Dubey is a community leader in Milwaukee and a member of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

Rahul Dubey is a member of Serve 2 Unite.

My heart goes out for those nine souls and their family members who lost their loved ones in this horrific incident. It seems like History has revived those dark moments, it feels like we saw a flashback of August 5th 2012 again. Hatred for Humanity has gone to such intense level that we have now started killing each other in holy worship places. Why can't we understand God's most important Golden rule that 'We are all HUMANS and we are all EQUAL'. There is no way we can be divided on basis of color, gender, race, religion.  It's about time we start thinking about the future of our kids and the generations to come so that we can pass on the legacy of Love and Compassion instead of Hate and Ignorance.

We feel the same pain, we share the same pain and we will continue to show our support by sending a banner with personal messages of solidarity for the families and loved ones of the Charleston Church Shooting. To fight against Hate, we will join hands with our friends from all communities to spread one message, one language, one religion, that is LOVE.


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