Religious leaders urge togetherness in wake of Capitol chaos

Religious leaders in the greater Milwaukee community said people will need to cling to one another to get through the violence that transpired in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The time to come together is now, immediately -- even if you have opposing viewpoints: That is the message from leaders who represent a dozen different faiths in the area.

Leaders are holding prayer services, hoping and praying for the division of the country to heal.

"We really want to make sure that we’re getting in front and protecting vulnerable communities. All vulnerable communities," said Pardeep Kaleka, director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

Pardeep Kaleka

Kaleka represents several, different religions -- saying it will take work from all to move forward.

"We’ve created rejection in society, so yesterday should be no surprise, that people’s only voice was something at that level of desperation," Kaleka said. "I think going forward, we really need to be better at listening to pain."

A group of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said he was appalled at what he watched unfold at the Capitol, calling for prayers for peace.

"We are bigger than the issues that divide us," said Listecki. "You don’t expect that in our country...but you don’t want to see it ever get out of hand where suddenly you are clashing with police or clashing with local authorities or threatening lives of individuals. That’s not America. That’s not Christian."

Jerome Listecki

Kaleka said forgiveness is tough, but it will be necessary for the country to move forward. His father was killed by a white supremacist in the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting of 2021.

"Within our faith, we have had years of understanding turmoil in the hearts of people and community," Kaleka said. "We do our best to follow our main principle of our Batala, which is peace and prosperity of all mankind."

A group of Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Kaleka's message was echoed by the archbishop.

"The only way you bring calm to yourself is by taking a look at who do you trust? I trust God. I trust our country to go forward," said Listecki. "I trust. And trust is what starts to dissipate fear."

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