“As we move forward in the weeks and months ahead, we must do more than express compassion. We must reflect on what conditions make repeated acts of deranged violence possible and take action. The killings we keep witnessing in America are symptoms of a culture that is too tolerant of hatred and too reluctant to restrict access to deadly weapons.”
–UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, in a statement about the tragic murders this weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin
When I was fourteen, my Unitarian Universalist youth group and I traveled to the neighboring town of Oak Creek, Wisconsin to visit a Sikh temple. Yesterday, I was horrified to learn that six of these community members who welcomed a group of rowdy UU teenagers with open arms were murdered. Never could I have ever imagined that something so violent and hateful could happen a mere fifteen miles from my childhood home. The gunman has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” and white supremacist.
As a born-and-raised Unitarian Universalist, the news of this tragedy evokes memories of July 2008, when the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, was attacked by a lone gunman with hate in his heart, killing two. The impact was felt by UUs the world over. The astonishing outpouring of support that the Knoxville UU community received from their broader community paved the way for the creation of our campaign for love and justice.
In the wake of this tragedy that strikes so close to home, let us reach out to our Sikh neighbors in compassion and love, welcome them into our hearts and our prayers, and show solidarity with a community that has been so brutally attacked.
In faith & love,
Standing on the Side of Love
*Note, after this email was sent out to the SSL community, thousands of messages of love were sent to the Oak Creek Sikh community, letting them know we stand on the side of love with them.