Today marks the second anniversary of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh gurdwara shooting, a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of seven people. White supremacist Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people before turning this gun on himself. Mass murders have become almost commonplace in the United States–but one thing that sets this shooting apart is the racial hatred that motivated the attack.
Over at NBC News, civil and immigrant rights advocate Deepa Iyer writes about how the Oak Creek community is healing and rebuilding after the massacre:
The Sikh Healing Collective was formed to address the mental health and trauma needs with resources that integrate language, cultural and faith norms, especially to assist the children who lost parents in the shooting, or witnessed unspeakable violence while hiding in the gurdwara’s basement and kitchen pantry during the massacre.
Young Sikh Americans like Mandeep Kaur and Rahul Dubey began to take leadership positions both within the gurdwara and with non-Sikh groups, to better build partnerships and address the community’s needs as a whole. Similarly, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi has plans to build connections between various race and faith groups in town with interfaith organizations and events.
And buoyed by the testimony of Harpreet Singh Saini before the Senate Judiciary Committee about losing his mother in the massacre, organizations around the country came together to successfully advocate Department of Justice to include categories of Sikh, Arab and Hindu in tracking hate crimes at the federal level.
You can read Iyer’s full dispatch over at NBC News. For full disclosure, Iyer is a board member of Race Forward, which publishes Colorlines.