News and Press Releases

"Chardhi Kala: Remembering and Honoring the Victims of Violence at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2013

United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today that a special observance will be held on Friday, August 2, 2013 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 pm in remembrance and honor of the hate crimes victims of violence at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek.  This special community gathering will be held in the Ceremonial Courtroom (Room 390) of the Historic Federal Courthouse, located at 517 East Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee.

 In addition to remarks by United States Attorney Santelle, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Tammy Baldwin will also provide remarks. The leadership representatives of the Sikh Gurdwaras in Oak Creek and Brookfield will offer reflections on the events of early August of 2012, and representatives of the families of those martyred and injured in the violence will be specially recognized and participate in the program.  The Honorable Stephen Scaffidi, Mayor of the City of Oak Creek, and Ms. Patricia Ferrick, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will also offer remarks about the significance of the violence and the perspectives of the community one year later.

 The memorial observance will include the performance of special commemorative music performed by children and adult members of the Oak Creek Gurdwara.  Mr. Thomas Heinen, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, will also be offering a reflection on behalf of the diverse faith community in Wisconsin and throughout the nation.

The program will be followed by an informal community gathering in Room 190 of the Historic Federal Courthouse, during which participants and attendees will have an opportunity to engage in informal discussion and share thoughts.  In that setting and in the entryway atrium of the building, informational items and photographs about the contributions of Sikhs to the history of the world and to the life and livelihood of the United States will be on display for viewing.

Because of the solemn, contemplative nature of the observance, United States Attorney Santelle requests that the media be respectful of the wishes and interests of the family members of the victims as well as other Gurdwara congregation members and not affirmatively solicit them for on-camera or other interviews in this setting.  If requested, Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig will attempt to arrange interviews with victim family members who indicate that they would be willing to be interviewed.

United States Attorney Santelle noted that this observance is among several gatherings and events organized and sponsored in partnership with the leadership of the Sikh Community and of the City of Oak Creek beginning on Friday, August 2, and continuing through Monday, August 5.  Information about other, related programs may be obtained from the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin at www.sikhtempleofwisconsin.com.

Mr. Puschnig will meet all representatives of the media at the employee entrance to the building on Jackson Street between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. and escort them through the court house to the Ceremonial Courtroom.   Arrangements will be made for a unified, common camera for recording/broadcast of the ceremony. Members of the media should call Mr. Puschnig at (414) 297-1774 to confirm their attendance.

                                                                       
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