A decade after the Oak Creek shooting, Sikh community members and experts push for improved policy and resources

Wisconsin native Pradeep Kaleka was on his way to a Wisconsin Sikh temple when he learned that there was active shooter in gurdwara At the same place his parents and several other congregations were preparing a community meal.

In the August 5, 2012 attack, his mother narrowly escaped, but His father Satwant Kalek, did not do. he was one of seven innocent worshipers was killed by a shooter with Ties to white nationalist neo-Nazi groups,

“This tragedy was heard not only in the United States, but all over the world,” Kaleka said on Friday. procession Make the event memorable. “It resonated with every single Sikh.”

Shooting became the deadliest target assault On Sikh Americans in American History. So, while hate crimes were not a new concept for Sikh Americans, the Oak Creek attack shocked the community, said Sim J Attariwala, a senior policy and advocacy manager at the Sikh Coalition.

“It was a sad day,” Attariwala told CBS News. “I think every Sikh I know, including myself, remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news of the Oak Creek shooting.”

He said that in the 10 years since the attack, the threat of white nationalism and crimes against Sikhs and other American minority groups has increased.

“Oak Creek can be seen as a warning of the increasingly violent and outspoken role of white supremacy in American society over the next decade,” Atariwala said. “Our community, the AAPI community, the Latino community, the black community, the Jewish community, the Muslim community – they are all, I think, on a high sense of alertness.”

Michael Lieberman of the Southern Poverty Law Center said officials such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security regard white supremacy groups as one of the most pressing threats in America.

Lieberman told CBS News, “Federal agencies are “repeatedly identifying what they believe to be the deadliest domestic threat today, which is number one: racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who are white racers.” advocate superiority.” “And two: anti-government or anti-incumbency violent extremists.”

One way to potentially mitigate these threats going forward, he said, is to reform the way hate crime statistics are tracked in this country. Local law enforcement agencies only voluntarily report hate crimes to the FBI – they are not required to. This means that there are likely to be many hate crimes taking place in the US. uninformed,

“Having that data and taking the reporting of the data seriously will help to be able to allocate resources,” Lieberman said. “If you know there have been three anti-Muslim hate crimes in a particular neighborhood, you can increase police patrols and reassure the community that civic leaders go out and talk to them.”

In addition to improving hate crime tracking, some activists are pushing for more federal funding for security provisions in places of worship. Sahaj Preet Singh of Sikh Alliance said that the government in present Provides grants to these institutions to get funding, it is actually a competitive process to get it.

“This grant actually covers things like bulletproof glass, improvements to security alarms, and installing new cameras. So, this money really helps,” Singh told CBS News. “But at the moment, there’s a limited budget, so the competition gets really, really fierce.”

If the government is able to increase the budget allocated for this grant, more non-profit organizations and places of worship will be able to secure funds, he said.

Kaleka told CBS News that while tragedies and hate crimes like Oak Creek can be difficult for targeted communities, Sikh Americans have turned their heartbreak into a motivator.

“What happened that day didn’t stop us from realizing that in America we have a role to play. It made us more determined,” he said. “In times of sorrow and suffering, sometimes it brings out the worst in us. But for us, I think it brings out the best in us.”

Lieberman said the world can look to the reaction of Sikh Americans to the attack as an example of how to act in the event of a tragedy. By now, he has begun tracking the number of hate crimes affecting Sikhs to the FBI, launching a National Day of Service, otherwise known as Selfless Service, on which he encourages people to perform community service. encourage you to engage in the form and help dozens of people. Let’s apply for the Federal Security Grant of Gurdwaras.

“The resilience the community has shown and the way they have honored the memory of those killed is through action,” he said. “The fact that so many members of this community believe that there is a way to try to make things better not only for the Sikh American community, but for everyone, it is actually a best practice for the communities.

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