OAK CREEK, Wisconsin (WDJT) — This week marks the 10th anniversary of the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.
A white nationalist gunman open fire during a service at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012, killing six people and injuring four others.
One of those injured later died from injuries sustained that day in 2020.
The gunman was shot by police before turning the gun on himself.
As the anniversary of that tragic day approaches, Pardeep Singh Kaleka said their tight-knit community is remembering the lives lost and embracing the sacrifices made along the way.
“I think about ten years ago, and I think how I may have taken life for granted,” Singh Kaleka said.
Singh Kaleka’s father, the temple president at the time, was among those killed in the shooting.
“We remember those seven people that we lost. We continue to build around that wound,” Singh Kaleka said.
Singh Kaleka said a lot has changed in the past decade, including strengthening security measures and helping the community better understand Sikhism.
“We’re not a mystery because we wear different clothes or because we pray differently. We’re literally just like you are,” Jaspreet Kaleka said.
As mass shootings have become more prevalent in the United States over the last decade, they say change is needed at higher levels.
“What we say matters, and when we say something that’s disparaging about, especially minority communities, that they can be impacted by violence,” Singh Kaleka said.
As the 10th anniversary approaches, Singh Kaleka said the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin has and will continue to remain true to their faith, even in the midst of fear.
“I think for us, we understand that this sacrifice was not just to our people but to America as a whole, and to really think about, how do we build a more loving, inclusive society as we go forward,” Singh Kaleka said.
The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin is inviting everyone to a vigil on Friday, Aug. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. to remember the lives lost.