Cutting across party lines, various people in the US have called for combating racism, intolerance and violence during the fifth anniversary of the tragic Oak Creek massacre that killed six innocent Sikhs five years ago. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, said: “Over the last five years, the people of Oak Creek have proved they’re stronger than hate and division.” Ryan represents the Congressional district in Wisconsin where a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage at a Sikh Gurdwara on August 5, 2012. “Five years ago, Oak Creek was rocked by a heinous attack on the Sikh Temple, and today we look back on that act of violence with solemn remembrance of those who were lost,” he said in a statement. “The Sikh community is in our thoughts on this fifth anniversary of the Oak Creek attack,” said Senator Ron Johnson. “Today, we join together as one community on the fifth anniversary of the horrific attack on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin.
“I’m also incredibly proud of our Sikh community. Their grace and hopeful message of peace moved an entire nation,” she added. “Five years after the senseless shooting in Oak Creek, we continue to remember the innocent victims who were killed in this horrible attack,” said Grace Meng, Democratic lawmaker from New York. “For many generations, the Sikh-American community has made important contributions to our nation and it is unacceptable that they continue to be targets of violence and bigotry. We must combat racism, intolerance, and violence wherever it exists,” she said. Five years ago, America was struck by a “cowardly and tragic act of violence” that took the lives of six innocent worshippers in a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said House Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley. “As we grieve for the victims, their loved ones, and the greater Sikh American community, we are reminded that much work remains to be done. Whether it is a gurdwara in Oak Creek, a church in Charleston, or a mosque in Quebec City, an attack on one faith is an attack on all,” he said in a statement. “On this somber anniversary, we must reaffirm our commitment to fighting intolerance anywhere and everywhere,” Crowley said. “A neo-Nazi killed six people at a Sikh temple five years ago. Remember Oak Creek and resist hate in all its forms,” said Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapala. Eminent Indian-American from Indiana Gurinder Singh Khalsa said, the Oak Creek tragedy was a wakeup call for the Sikh community.
“The community needs to engage, educate and empower. Sikhs need to do more on the awareness front,” said Khalsa, founder and head of the Sikhs Political Action Committee. At a time when divisive rhetoric has taken over our country, Sikhs have to remain vigilant while still staying in steadfast to their ur beliefs and principles,” said Baldev Singh from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Wade Michael Page, a known white supremacist, shot and murdered six people and injured four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. This was one of the worst shooting incidents in the recent American history. Those who were killed in this shooting spree were Paramjit Kaur, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, and Suveg Singh.