Four years ago, on August 5th, a deadly hate attack shattered the lives of the Sikh community in Oak Creek, WI, but not their resilience. After six worshippers were killed by a white supremacist, the mayor, police chief and community members were awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism: Chardhi Kala.
This week, Charleston, SC grieves over the losses 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.
Just months after he was elected as Mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Mayor Steve Scaffidi was faced with the challenge of leading a town that had just experienced one of the deadliest hate crime attacks in recent history. His new book "Six Months In August" profiles a community in crisis from the perspective of Mayor Scaffidi. Patrice O'Neill, Executive Producer and Director of Not In Our Town's "Waking In Oak Creek" sits down with Mayor Scaffidi to discuss his newly released book.
Redding honors community leader Eddie McAllister The president of the Shasta County Citizens Advocating Respect (SCCAR)—a Not In Our Town group—was honored by Leadership Redding with its Alumnus of the Year Award. Eddie McAllister was selected for his outstanding community involvement, according to the Redding Record-Searchlight. McAllister’s community involvement includes serving on the advisory board for the Salvation Army, working with PlusOne Mentors and the Youth Violence Prevention Council. He’s also helped organize the Local National Night Out, the Multicultural Celebration and the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. In 2013, McAllister helped organize Redding’s Global March for Peace and Unity, making his city one of 16 California cities that participated in the March. He is the recipient of the Redding Mayor’s Proclamation for his work in a program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called See the Vision Live the Dream Day. As a Vietnam veteran, Eddie McAllister also helps organize programs to serve the veteran community. "Dr. King said, ‘Life's most urgent and persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” McAllister said after receiving his award, “And this is something I picked up on."
In March, we brought the inspiring story of Oak Creek, WI's unity in the aftermath of a hate crime to three Midwestern cities. We returned to Oak Creek, WI to premiere our 30-minute documentary, Waking in Oak Creek, on March 13; traveled on March 25 to Bloomington-Normal, IL, a city that first sparked Not In Our Town activities in their community 18 years ago; and finally to executive producer Patrice O’Neill’s hometown of St. Louis, MO on March 27 for a screening and discussion. The response has been overwhelmingly positive in each of these towns. These three events are the first of hundreds to follow. Follow the lead of these Not In Our Town communities and bring Waking in Oak Creek to your town. Click here to request the DVD and discussion guides. Oak Creek, Wisconsin Milwaukee’s FOX6 covered the March premiere. After the event, Oak Creek resident Robert Sagan said, “If you get a chance to view Waking in Oak Creek, all I can say is, ‘GO SEE IT.’ Hopefully it will leave an impact and wake you to your community, your town, your state, your country and yes your world. That the events of people anywhere can and should effect you too.”
Law Enforcement: As part of our ongoing work with the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office, we invited law enforcement leaders for a webinar in late July. Beyond a few minor technical glitches, it was wonderful to connect and share best practices in our law enforcement cadre including the work of COPS Office Program Analyst Nazmia Alqadi, Marshall County, IA Sheriff Ted Kamatchus and Marshalltown, IA Police Chief Michael Tupper. If you are in law enforcement and would like to participate in the next webinar in October, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community Work: Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O’Neill had nothing but good things to say about her July visit to Billings, MT. She met with former Billings Mayor Chuck Tooley, current Mayor Thomas Hanel, and Police Chief Rich St. John. Patrice and Community Engagement Director Michelle Gahee-Kloss also met with the Sacramento Hate Crimes Task Force in July.
This weekend, our film crew joined the Oak Creek, WI community as they gather to remember those lost in the fatal shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Aug. 5, 2012.Find photos from the Chardi Kala 6K Memorial Run & Walk: Turning Tragedy into Triumph event on Saturday. Tonight we join the Oak Creek community vigil.
This weekend, our film crew will join the Oak Creek, WI community as they gather to remember those lost in the fatal shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on Aug. 5, 2012. On Saturday, we will be at the Chardi Kala 6K Memorial Run: Walk: Turning Tragedy into Triumph. We join others at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin for prayers and tributes to the departed souls on Sunday and for the community candlelight vigil on Monday. As we depart for Wisconsin for the one-year anniversary, we leave you with this video poem from the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Please watch, share and remember. Please help us make this country safe and inclusive for all. We Are Sikhs - a Poem from the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin from Amardeep Kaleka on Vimeo.
The Not In Our Town production crew just returned from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where we experienced one of the most moving stories we've followed. Oak Creek residents are standing up for each other, providing a powerful example of a community coming together after a devastating hate crime took the lives of six members of the Sikh community in August 2012.