Richness of DIVERSITY!
Richness of diversity!
Reflecting on the HATRED expressed last Sunday at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI, I am the MORE attuned to the true RICHNESS of DIVERSITY! Are YOU?
I find it difficult to understand why there is the dramatic increase of 65 percent in “HATE GROUPS” since 2000 as reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have moved from 148 “patriot groups,” such as the one that gave rise to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, at the end of 2008 to 1,274 in 2011, including armed militias. WHY? What do YOU think?
I myself am convinced that there is a RICHNESS in DIVERSITY in our American culture. I have experienced the blessings of DIVERSITY in every dimension of life, including: race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age! Haven’t YOU?
The tragedy of the attack on the people at the SIKH TEMPLE in Oak Creek, WI by Wade Michael Page last Sunday (8/12) which is being investigated by the FBI as a “domestic terrorist” attack has reverberated through WI, the USA and the WORLD these days.
I have followed the situation since first hearing the reports of the attack via media last Sunday. I had just joined the congregation of Zwingli United Church of Christ in Monticello, WI to celebrate their 125th church anniversary.
I learned of the attack on the radio driving through the beautiful hills of “Swiss Valley” back home to the Janesville area. The STARK CONTRAST of the beauty and peace of the “Swiss Valley” and the bloody violence and death at the SIHK TEMPLE in Oak Creek was INTENSE!
Yesterday the families of the 6 kills in the shooting at the Sikh Temple along with their Sikh community, the Oak Creek community, WE THE PEOPLE of WI represented by our Governor Scott Walker who spoke, WE THE PEOPLE of the USA represented by our US Attorney General Eric Holder who spoke and the whole wide world represented by the international representatives joined in a memorial service at Oak Creek High School.
I read Steven Yaccino’s very perceptive article, “Thousands Gather to Mourn Six Dead in Shooting at Temple” published yesterday in the New York Times with gratitude. I encourage you to use this link to read the full article.
Steven wrote, “The deaths have rocked the town and reverberated throughout the global Sikh community, leading neighbors to skip work and visitors from as far as India to converge at Oak Creek High School for a group memorial service and wake.
“’These bullets have hit their hearts,’ said Rajwant Singh, chairman of Sikh Council on Religion and Education, who traveled from Washington. ‘It has become a big family gathering. It is really a shaking moment hitting the core of the community.’”
He cites Governor Walker’s statement, “No matter what country your ancestors came from, no matter where you worship, no matter what your background, as Americans, we are one. When you attack one of us, you attack all of us.”
And then he cites US Attorney General Eric Holder, “Last Sunday morning, this community witnessed the very worst of humankind.” Holder noted that it was not the first time that Sikhs had seen violence directed at them, and added, “In the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted, victimized simply because of who they are, how they look and what they believe.” Steven reports, “Mr. Holder said. He said that law enforcement officials would implement the solutions ‘that we need to prevent future tragedies.’”
Please read Steven’s entire article – it has a great deal of meaningful reflection on the memorial service yesterday in Oak Creek, WI. Again the LINK is, “Thousands Gather to Mourn Six Dead in Shooting at Temple.” What are YOUR comments after reading Steven’s article?
I agree with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial statement, “'We came together' to fight hatred unleashed by a killer.”
"’Hate and the killer were not successful. He wanted to divide us, and we came together.’
“So true. Those were the words of Prabhjot Singh, co-founder and trustee of the Sikh Coalition, at Friday's services in Oak Creek. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Gov. Scott Walker and representatives of the Sikh community spoke to mourners at the services for the six people killed in Sunday's shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.
“Singh said religious ceremonies will continue privately over the next weeks. He also said it was moving to see all Americans come together to pay their respects to the victims.
“He's right. The evil that Wade Michael Page displayed when he shot and killed the six will not destroy a strong community. Wade's violent actions helped bring mourners from all walks of life to stand together in the face of Page's kind of hate.”
I have the audacity of hope that we will really and truly come together to build a HEALTHY community enriched by DIVERSITY! Do YOU?
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel articulated the reality of the attack on the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI in its editorial published last Wednesday, August 8, "We stand together, united, to overcome hate," for me when they cited a couple Letters to the Editor and drew their own conclusion.
In her Letter to the Editor, Darlene Martin Rose of Elm Grove, WI wrote, "Borne of tragedy, we stand with them, as well as with the dedicated officers and responders." Francis Pauc of Oak Creek, WI wrote, "In a way, the shooter wounded us all."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel drew its conclusion in its editorial statement, “That's who we are. We are Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Republicans, Democrats, people of all faiths and beliefs who all have been wounded and who all stand together now to face an uncertain future and face down hate - together.”
Do YOU agree? Will YOU too join in facing down hate? Will YOU too encourage and appreciate the RICHNESS of our DIVERSITY? I do HOPE so!
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.