Dear Family,

I’m writing with an announcement — and invitation.

Two weeks from now, the Sikh community will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of a horrific mass shooting. On August 5, 2012, a white nationalist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin as families prepared for Sunday services. Seven beloved community members were ultimately killed. It was the deadliest massacre of Sikhs ever on U.S. soil.

Today, too many Americans don’t remember Oak Creek. But we are going to change that together. For this milestone anniversary, we have partnered with our friends at the Sikh Coalition to create a storytelling + action campaign. Will you join us?

Go to our new hub:
RememberOakCreek.org

Here, you will find everything you need to learn the story of Oak Creek, share about it, and take action. You’ll find lesson plans and artwork to help you tell the story to your own community. Not just the terror and trauma, but how the Sikh community stood in courage and humanity.

I had always called victims of hate crimes just that—victims. That all changed for me in Oak Creek. After the shooting, we followed the stories of survivors who became healers, artists, advocates, and warriors. Together, we wondered, grieved, and fought; we raged, listened, and reimagined the future. We fought to change federal policy on hate crimes—and won. It was revolutionary love in action. (You can read this story in full in Ch. 7 of See No Stranger.) Ten years later, our wounds are still open, white nationalist violence continues to bleed us, but we are rising in new forms of love and solidarity.

The story of Oak Creek can give us the energy and action we need now in the face of endless mass shootings.

1. Visit our learning hub today. Watch our new 3 minute video. Read the story of what happened. Send our educators’ guide to the teachers in your life. Learn how to take action with expert guidance from the Sikh Coalition.

2. Then — mark your calendar for Friday, August 5th. Join us on that day in person or online to share this story. Take action with us. Let’s spread strength, resilience, and revolutionary love.

In Chardi Kala — even in darkness, ever-rising joy,
Valarie


Watch our new 3 min video:
Oak Creek Ten Years Later

Too many Americans don’t remember Oak Creek. But we do. We remember the blood in the prayer hall, and the bullet holes in the langar hall. We remember the lives lost. We also remember the resilience and courage of the elders who rose up in Chardi Kala in the face of trauma and terror. Let’s share the story together. Our new video compiles images and footage from the last 10 years, including original footage Valarie & team collected on the ground.


We are excited to bring you the Oak Creek Educator’s Guide. Use this guide to teach the story of Oak Creek. This guide is for all educators — classroom teachers, community leaders, faith leaders, youth workers. Its lessons can help us respond to white supremacist violence that targets Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) today. Together, we can learn how to respond to mass violence with the practices of revolutionary love.


You can join the fight! The Sikh Coalition and SALDEF have three policy asks for legislators to honor those lost at Oak Creek and prevent further targeted acts of mass violence. Learn more about each piece of legislation and use our form to ask your elected officials in Congress to pass these bills.

1. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act would ensure that our government is prepared for the greatest threat to our communities: domestic racially- and ethnically-motivated violent extremists, like the white supremacist who attacked Oak Creek.

2. The Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act would close a loophole in the law that currently prohibits the Department of Justice from prosecuting the majority of hate crimes in this country.

3. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program Improvement Act would make more resources readily available to gurdwaras, synagogues, mosques, churches, and other houses of worship that wish to invest in strengthening themselves against potential violent attack.


Save the date for August 5th. Help us flood social media with the story of Oak Creek in honor of those we lost.

Click here for video, graphics, and captions to share on social media.


Join the local sangat for a weekend of events August 5th-7th at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Take part in the remembrance vigil, community gathering, and kirtan. All events are open to the public and free to attend.

You can learn more and subscribe for updates here.