OAK CREEK (WITI) -- Almost a year after members of the Sikh Temple were massacred, the religious community is honoring them in a special way and asking you to be involved.
Six wreaths draped in flowers and adorned with the American flag are one of the first things you see entering the Sikh Temple grounds. They’re meant to memorialize the victims killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Oak Creek temple last August.
Pardeep Kaleka lost his father and temple president Satwant Kaleka. Since then, he’s been channeling his energies toward religious and community awareness.
“Hearts are heavy this past year," said Kaleka. “We discovered last year after August 5th that we don’t know our neighbors. Tragedies are going to happen but if we can turn them into something positive we can keep them from happening again.”
To honor the memory of the victims and celebrate the new sense of purpose of the Sikh community, the temple organized a run and walk.
“The name of the run is Chardhi Kala 6K and what that represents is a spirit of optimism in the face of adversity and after last year that’s how we have to approach things moving forward," said Kaleka.
As the Sikh community aspires to promote solidarity Kaleka added, “There’s communities out there that people don’t know about and unfamiliarity’s cause fear so we want to basically encourage people to get to know your neighbor.”
Kaleka said it will be an opportunity for all faiths to celebrate the universal values of service, unity and resilience.
“It’s important that we remember people and keep them in our minds, but it’s more important that we act on that remembrance. I want them to let them inspire you to do something good," said Kaleka.
The memorial run and walk will be held Saturday August 3rd. The money raised will fund a sustainable scholarship fund in honor of the victims.
CLICK HERE to sign up and for sponsorship and donation information.