Pardeep Kalika from Wisconsin was driving to a Sikh temple in Wisconsin when he found out about– In the same place where his parents and many other worshipers were preparing a communal meal.
His mother survived the August 5, 2012 attack, but, did not. was one of the Shooter killed him with .
Kalika said Friday in vigilance Commemorate the event. “It resonated with every Sikh.”
Shooting has become the deadliest targetOn Sikh Americans in United States History. So while hate crime was not a new concept for Sikh Americans, the Oak Creek attack sent shock waves through the community, said Sim J. Atariwala, senior director of policy and advocacy for the Sikh Alliance.
“It was a sad day,” Atariwala told CBS News. “I think every Sikh I know, myself included, remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of the shooting in Oak Creek.”
In the 10 years since the attack, he said, the threat of white nationalism and crimes against Sikhs and other American minorities has increased.
“Oak Creek can be seen as a warning of the increasingly violent and assertive role that white supremacy has set out to play 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 — I think they’re all on a high alert.”
Michael Lieberman of the Southern Poverty Law Center said authorities such as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have found white supremacist groups one of the most serious threats in the United States.
Lieberman told CBS News that federal agencies “repeatedly identify what they consider to be today’s deadliest domestic threat, which is number one: racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists who advocate white supremacy.” “The second: violent anti-government or anti-authority extremists.”
He said one way that could reduce the possibility of these threats moving forward is by improving the way hate crime data is tracked in this country. Local law enforcement agencies only voluntarily report hate crimes to the FBI – they are not obligated to do so. This means that it is likely that many hate crimes occurring in the United States are continuing Unreported.
“Having this data and taking reporting it seriously will help allocate resources,” Lieberman said. “If you know there are three anti-Muslim hate crimes in a particular neighborhood, you can increase police patrols and reassure the community by inviting civic leaders to come 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. Sag Preet Singh of the Sikh Alliance said when the government
Currently Offering a scholarship to these institutions to receive funds, it is a competitive process to actually get them.
“This grant actually covers things like bulletproof glass, improving security alarms, installing new cameras and all that. So, this money really helps,” Singh told CBS News. “But right now, there’s a tight budget, so the competition is really fierce.”
He said that if the government was able to increase the budget for this grant, more non-profit organizations and places of worship would be able to secure funding.
Kalika told CBS News that tragedies and hate crimes like the one in Oak Creek can be tough on target communities, but Sikh Americans have turned their grief into a catalyst for change.
“What happened that day did not stop us from understanding that we had a role to play in America. It made us more determined,” he said. “In times of sadness and suffering, sometimes it brings out the worst in us. But to us, I think it brought out the best in us.”
Lieberman said the American Sikh reaction to the attack could be seen by the world as an example of how to take action in the face of the tragedy. So far, they’ve made the FBI start tracking the number of hate crimes specifically affecting Sikhs, and they’ve started a national Siva Day, known as Dedicated Service, where they encourage people to engage in some form of community service and help dozens of gurdwaras. Apply for the Federal Security Scholarship.
“The resilience that the community has shown and the way they honor the memory of the dead is done through action,” he said. “The fact that many members of this community recognize that there is a way forward to try to make things better, not just for the American Sikh community, but for everyone else, that’s really a community best practice.