One Sikh reflects on the Oak Creek Tragedy
Mark talks with Jesse Dhaliwal about the Sikh religion, his family's American story and how the community's response to tragedy is something to be proud of.
In the wake the Aug. 5 tragedy at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, the people of the Sikh community reacted not with contempt, or revenge, or anger, but remarkably, with grace and understanding. It’s something to be proud of, and it inspired me to learn more about the Sikh religion and its people.
Jesse Dhaliwal works at the petrochemical company that owns most of the Citgo service stations in southeastern Wisconsin and is a part of the local Sikh community. He was not at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on the day of the shooting, but he has close ties with people who were. He saw first hand how this tragedy has effected the community, and he’s incredibly proud of how the community reacted.
“It’s easy to feel like a victim and be scared that your life is in danger and turn around and react the same way that you’ve been treated,” Jesse said. “But in the Sikh community—and the Oak Creek, southeastern Wisconsin and the American community altogether, really—there was a lot of solidarity that came through and it really impressed me. I was very proud of the community that I come from both as a Sikh as a Wisconsinite.”
In our conversation, Jesse and I talked about the origins of the Sikh religion, the story of his family’s journey to the United States, and about the enormously admirable response from both the Sikh community and the people of Wisconsin in the face of such a terrible tragedy.