News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Announces Gathering In Oak Creek To Share Perspectives and Promote Healing

August 9, 2012

James L. Santelle, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, is announcing today that, in partnership and cooperation with many others, he will be sponsoring a special, community-wide gathering to promote healing, encourage understanding, share perspectives, and advance harmony in the wake of the violence at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple on Sunday, August 5, 2012.  The two-hour program will begin at 5:00 p.m. today, Thursday, August 9, 2012, at the Oak Creek High School, located at 340 East Puetz Road, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, 53154.

In announcing this gathering, organized and facilitated by the Community Relations Service of the United States Department of Justice, Santelle specifically urged members of the community, including but not limited to those of the Sikh Faith, to join with him and others for the purpose of candid, productive, and mutually beneficial communication and exchange.  “As we have done in other settings throughout the week,” Santelle said, “we will be united tonight in thoughtful, honest, revelatory, and affirming discussion about the tragedy of last Sunday, about our sorrow in the profound loss of our fellow citizens, and about the future.  I hope that we will hear from all sectors of our diverse, supportive, and life-affirming community - so that we can together design and work on a way forward that both responds to our present needs and challenges and ensures that we are focused on what is best for the times ahead.”

 Joining Santelle for this interactive discussion will be representatives of the Sikh Temples in Oak Creek and Brookfield, leaders of the local, regional, and national Sikh organizations and associations, officials of federal, state, and local government, including law enforcement, and others with interests in responding meaningfully to the tragic event of this past week.  Following introductory and informational comments from those principal presenters, Santelle will moderate a session during which community members will be able to express views, share perspectives, ask questions, and comment thoughtfully on matters of communal interest and concern.

 Santelle specifically thanked the Mayor Steve Scaffidi and Police Chief John Edwards, along with Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District Superintendent Dr. Sara Burmeister, for their strong support of and tireless assistance with this community event.  He also expressed his deep appreciation to the Sikh Community - its leadership and its membership - for their  commitment to this process of healing and recovery, even in the midst of their grief. 

 Representatives of local, state, and national media will be permitted to attend and record the community gathering, although they will not be permitted to ask questions of the panel members or community speakers during the sharing session.  Questions about media involvement in this program should be directed to Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig, Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, at (414) 297-1774 or



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