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NASABA Remembers Oak Creek

August 5, 2013

One year ago, on August 5, 2012, a terrible tragedy struck the South Asian community when a gunman stormed into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and opened fire. Six innocent men and women died – Paramjit Kaur, Prakash Singh, Ranjit Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Sita Singh and Suveg Singh – and four others were injured during the rampage.

We mark this anniversary with grief, but also with the knowledge that this horrible event spurred change in our nation. The outpouring of public outrage and support after the Oak Creek tragedy, coupled with the efforts of racial justice, faith-based and immigrant rights organizations, led to a Senate hearing championed by Senator Durbin on hate violence and to the FBI’s decision to track hate crimes against Sikhs (as well as Hindus and Arabs).

Across the country, people are honoring this tragedy in peaceful and positive ways. SAALT representatives were in Oak Creek over the weekend carrying messages of support and strength they had collected. In addition, The Sikh Coalition arranged a Day of Seva on Saturday and several of SABAs participated. SABA-DC held a fundraiser for the families of the victims of Oak Creek.

As we reflect on this important anniversary, it is important to place the Oak Creek tragedy in the broader historical context of racial injustice and xenophobia in our country. This is the time for us realize that we, as South Asian attorneys, are in a unique position to commit ourselves to cause of justice for everyone.

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