This year’s Oak Creek anniversary assumes special significance in the aftermath of shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy.
August 5 marks the seventh anniversary of the Oak Creek massacre that shook the Sikh American community. It was on this day, in 2012, a mass shooter opened fire and killed six Sikh worshippers in a gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The shooter killed himself after the carnage, which also wounded many worshippers.
While every year Sikh Americans across America, as well as minority rights organizations, mark the day to remind everyone that hate has no place in America, this year, the event assumes special significance in the aftermath of recent shootings in El Paso (Texas), Dayton (Ohio) and Gilroy (California).
A “Vigil Against Hate” is being organized today in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in remembrance of Oak Creek, El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy. Organized by minority rights groups, such as Forward Latino, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, the vigil would remember the victims and call for the promotion of tolerance and inclusion for all. The mourners will gather at 7.00 pm at the Walker Square Park in Milwaukee.
On Sunday, a one-weekend-only play, entitled Rag Head, was enacted at the Broadway Theatre in Milwaukee. Rag Head details the series of events that marked the Oak Creek massacre in 2012. It also addresses the issue of hate crimes against religious minorities. Produced by Deanna Singh, the play was a sell-out for all its three shows.
Sikhs across the country have been remembering the six lives that were lost in the Oak Creek massacre, while mourning the fact that hate-based senseless killing continues to take away more precious lives.
A series of vigils have been organized since Sunday in different parts of the country. At El Paso in Texas, “See the Voice, Be the Change,” an immigrant advocacy center, held a vigil at the Las Americas headquarters on Sunday.
The streets of El Paso were overflowing with mourners on Sunday as thousands came out holding banners and signs for two vigils that were hosted by religious and community leaders.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was among the speakers at the vigil.