Day: August 5, 2019

Oak Creek, 7 years later

What if we each of us chose to act?

Today, seven years ago, a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI. It was the worst anti-Sikh attack in U.S. history. Many of you joined my community as we grieved and organized and rose up in Chardi Kala, ever-rising spirits. We vowed to prevent another Oak Creek from ever happening again. But America as a whole did not make that vow with us. Our government did not marshall the resources to combat white nationalist violence as a serious threat. Nor did we have a national conversation about hate and white supremacy in our homes, schools, and halls of power. America forgot Oak Creek.

Seven years later — Today we are grieving the dead in El Paso, the largest anti-Latino attack in U.S. history, and Dayton, where the motive is not yet known. Just as we grieved after Charleston and Pittsburgh and Christchurch and Poway. White nationalists now belong to a violent transnational network, where one attack inspires another. We could never have imagined that Oak Creek would become the first of many white supremacist mass shootings on brown, black, and Jewish communities in the last decade.

We have seen many Oak Creeks. We will see more unless —

What if we each of us chose to act? What if faith leaders everywhere denounced white supremacy? What if educators taught tools for how to combat it in our institutions and in our consciousness? What if advertisers refused to sponsor programming that gave white nationalism a platform? What if banks refused to finance white nationalist orgs? What if tech companies removed their platforms? What if lawmakers kept semiautomatic assault-style weapons out of their hands? What if we organized to unseat every elected leader who espoused violent white nationalist rhetoric, starting with the current President? What if cities held truth and reconciliation commissions about the history of white supremacy, starting with the genocide of indigenous communities? What if each of us believed that we had an essential role in this fight? What if we helped each other show up?

Might we as a people prevent future Oak Creeks?

I renew my vow today. Please join me. Share the story of Oak Creek.

In honor of: Paramjit Kaur, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Suveg Singh Khattra, Ranjit Singh, Sita Singh, Prakash Singh, and Baba Punjab Singh who remains unable to move or speak since the shooting. And all those we have lost since. #RememberOakCreek #ElPasoStrong #ChardiKala

— Revolutionary Love Founder Valarie Kaur