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Oak Creek, Sikh Communities Mourn Newtown Victims

Those gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Sikh temple expressed frustration at more violence and resolve to make things better.

The city of Oak Creek and the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin are, unfortunately, no strangers to mass shootings and the devastation that follows.

Four months after a white supremacist killed six temple members, Oak Creek residents and the Sikh community gathered Sunday night at the temple for a vigil remembering the 26 people murdered Friday in Newtown, CT.

The event was just two months after a vigil was held for three people shot and killed at the Azana Spa in Brookfield. Many who attended expressed frustration that gun violence continues to cause havoc and take the lives of innocent people.

But the vigil also brought out resolve to prevent more tragedies from happening.

"We have to work harder to make the world better," said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, whose uncle died in the Aug. 5 temple shooting. "It seems like it's getting worse ... it just means you have to work harder, you have to work smarter, you have to get more people on board."

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said mass shootings have become too regular an occurrence to stand by and do nothing.

"We should not put up with what we're having to put up with," he said. "We need to take whatever steps we can take to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We should seek out ways to find solutions to these problems. It's not acceptable to accept the status quo."

Twenty of those killed in Newtown were children, shot multiple times in their classroom. Their names were read aloud by two Sikh children who lost their parents in the Aug. 5 attack, bringing tears to many eyes in the crowd of about 100.

Two Milwaukee teachers told those gathered that they are focused on making schools safe for their students.

"I'm going to open my door and I'm not going to stop doing what I've been doing for 25 years," MPS teacher Kathy Kelley said. "School is a safe place. A school represents the community it is part of, but our schools can only be as good as the communities they represent."

More on Newtown Patch:

vocal local 1 December 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Seems to me that we have to determine what problems are leading up to killings and no one seems to be moving in that direction. I'm sorry but I disagree, schools are not safe places. On any given day we have drugged students on premises. You wouldn't give your kid a shot and a beer and send them off but many are required to give their kids their family physician's prescribed med. HOW CAN THEY LEARN? If we ban guns the problem isn't going to go away. If we hire security guards the problem isn't going away. We need to look deeper. AND, it was never established that Wade Page was a white supremacist to the best of my knowledge. Close the bloody schools. Give them all a computer, online instructions, pay for their server and bring them in for testing and make-up sessions. Imagine the cost savings and better non biased educations the students would receive.

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