Oak Creek community unites for 5th anniversary of Sikh Temple shooting

OAK CREEK, WI - The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin is commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Oak Creek Sikh Memorial Remembrance this weekend. Worshippers along with the community will work together to honor those whose lives were lost and/or injured on Aug. 5, 2012, in a violent mass shooting.

“We’ve lost family members,” Mandeep Kaur said. “We’ve lost community members.”

That loss resulting in one of the worst heartbreaks for the Sikh community across the globe. Five years ago six people lost their lives and several others were permanently injured when a lone gunman opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Mandeep Kaur was on her way to the temple that day when she got the call not to come.

“Call it luck, call it destiny, call it whatever you’d like,” Kaur said. “But I think those 15 minutes that I was running late is the reason that I'm still here.”

Pardeep Kaleka’s father and five other victims weren’t granted the same fortune. Kaleka’s father was shot multiple times that day and died as a result. According to Kaleka, remembering that mass shooting will always be bittersweet.

“This weekend is a somber reminder of what happened five years ago. I have mixed feelings quite honestly,” Kaleka said. “We’ve done a lot of work since August, 2012, but I feel like there’s a lot of work to be done.”

For Kaleka that work begins with transforming and through change, he hopes prevention might one day be realized.

“If we don’t transform this then the next community could be at risk,” Kaleka said.

The weekend of memorial begins Friday and ends Saturday.

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Friday, August 04
The Akhand Path, a 48-hour recitation of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh holy scriptures, will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, 7512 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek. The prayer service will be continuous throughout this 48-hour period. Langar (community meal) will be served at all times during the Akhand Path.

Saturday, August 05
Akhand Path (at Sikh Temple) continues
**Serve 2 Unite is presenting the Chardhi Kala 6K Memorial Run/Walk**
Location: Oak Creek High School track/field area (340 E. Puetz Rd., Oak Creek).
Registration: 7:30-9:00 a.m. The Run/Walk begins at 9:00 am, followed by food and games for the entire family. The event concludes at approx. 3:00 pm.
Registration for the run is open to all at www.ck6k.org[ck6k.org]
“Chardhi Kala” is the spirit of relentless optimism: a philosophy that empowers us to persevere and grow from hardship.
Please bring non-perishable food donation for Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin
We will be hosting the annual Chardhi Kala Blood Drive at the event. The blood drive is being operated by the Blood Center of WI and will be from 8am - 1pm.
Blood Drive Sign Up Link: http://www.bcw.edu/ck6k[bcw.edu]
The entire event including the run is free! Food, games, and other festivities are all free!

Sunday, August 06  (at Sikh Temple)
Akhand Path concludes at 10:30 a.m.
Kirtan (hymn sung in the praise of God): 11:00 a.m.-1:30 pm.
Words from the victims’ families & community leaders: 1:30 pm
Langar (community meal) will be served throughout the day

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