On Tuesday, January 26th, the Pluralism Project hosted a screening and discussion of the film Waking in Oak Creek at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. Event partners include Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Everett Gurdwara Sahib, Gurdwara Sikh Sangat Boston, Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar Medford, Milford Gurdwara Sahib (NESSC), and Sikh Dharma of Massachusetts (SDMA).
About the film: “As the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin prepares for Sunday prayers, a deadly hate attack shatters their lives, but not their resilience. After six worshipers are killed by a white supremacist, the local community finds inspiration in the Sikh tradition of forgiveness and faith. Lieutenant Murphy, shot 15 times in the attack, joins the mayor and police chief as they forge new bonds with the Sikh community. Young temple members, still grieving, emerge as leaders in the quest to end the violence. In the year following the tragedy, thousands gather for vigils and community events to honor the victims and seek connection. Together, a community rocked by hate is awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism.” (Documentary short, 34 min.) https://www.niot.org/cops/wakinginoakcreek
About the panelists:
Patrice O’Neill is the executive producer of Not in Our Town, a movement that uses films, new media, and organizing tools to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all.
Pardeep Kaleka is a former Milwaukee police officer and a current teacher in inner city Milwaukee. He is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin who was gunned down during the August 5, 2012 attack. In the wake of this tragedy, Pardeep co-founded Serve2Unite, a Milwaukee-based organization that focuses on youth and community outreach.
Arno Michaelis is the author of My Life After Hate, a book that chronicles his transformation from being a founding member of “the largest racist skinhead organization on earth” to his current work promoting diversity and peace through speaking and writing for global audiences. He is also active with Serve2Unite.
Karin Firoza is active with Boston’s Young Muslims Engaging (BYME), a high school youth group, and is co-founder of Roots and Wings Training and Consultation. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service at Northeastern University and has previously worked as a labor organizer and with Youth LEAD and the Interfaith Youth Core.
Dr. Diana Eck is founder and director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. She is a professor of religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and a member of the faculty of divinity at Harvard.
This was the final event in the Religion Refocused film series, sponsored by the Pluralism Project and made possible by support from Mass Humanities, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.