WASHINGTON — Aug. 5 marked the seventh anniversary of the Oak Creek, Wis. shooting during which a white supremacist opened fire at a Sikh gurdwara and killed six people.
The anniversary falls after recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, Calif. that claimed a total of 34 lives, not including two of the shooters. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “Seven years ago, six innocent lives were taken during a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. This act of domestic terrorism was committed by a white supremacist who was driven by prejudice and bigotry.
“Unfortunately, the shootings this past week in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy are harrowing reminders of how little progress we have made in addressing domestic terrorism and gun violence since the Oak Creek shooting.
“Although we cannot weed out hatred and racism overnight, we must continue to denounce racial and religious intolerance, especially when it comes from our nation’s highest office.
“Congress must also take action to address gun violence so that these tragedies do not continue to repeat themselves. The House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 earlier this year, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote on it.
“Americans deserve more than thoughts and prayers from their elected officials. I urge Mitch McConnell to call the Senate back into session and take immediate action on the House-passed bill. We owe it to the victims of El Paso, Dayton, Gilroy, and Oak Creek to address gun violence and ensure that all Americans feel safe in this country.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), CAPAC first vice chair: “Seven years ago, six Sikh Americans lost their lives in Oak Creek, Wis. Sadly, as we just saw over the weekend, the racism and xenophobia that drove the attack on the gurdwara still permeates in our society today.
“On this anniversary, we honor the lives lost to this tragedy and reaffirm our commitment to rejecting all forms of hate whenever and wherever it occurs. We must come together to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their race, religion, or country of origin, feel safe in this country they call home. I call on the Senate to follow the House and immediately pass common-sense gun safety legislation.”
Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Bakersfield), Congressional Sikh Caucus vice chair: “It has been seven years since the deadly shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., where six innocent people were viciously murdered in their place of worship. Last week our nation was struck again when two children and a young adult were killed by a gunman at the Gilroy Festival in Gilroy, California. And just this weekend, 29 lives were taken during mass shootings that took place in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.
“This bigotry is not reflective of America, our values, and what we stand for. Today we honor and remember those who were taken from us, as a result of gun violence. We must continue to honor them by working to ensure that hateful acts of intolerance are eradicated from American society. I urge all Americans to stand united to help tackle this cycle of violence and call it for what it is – domestic terrorism.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): “It has been seven years since the deadly attack at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and tragically, mass shootings like this one are on the rise across our country. We are seeing the real, devastating effects of a lack of sensible gun reform.
“The president’s dangerous racist and xenophobic rhetoric fans the flames of hate and violence against our communities, and Republicans remain unwilling to pass common sense gun-reform legislation. My colleagues and I remain committed to addressing rising hate violence against Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities — and all immigrant communities of color — and advancing legislation to curb gun violence.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “Seven years ago, six innocent Sikhs were murdered in their place of worship by an act of senseless violence. Any attack on a community of faith must be wholly condemned. These moments transcend political boundaries and personal beliefs. In honor of those who died at Oak Creek, as well as those who were brutally murdered in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy over the last week, I will continue to advocate for stricter gun control laws and comprehensive background checks.”