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Impactful Screening of ‘Waking Up in Oak Creek’ Documentary in Chicago

Unraveling Oak creek, WI: A Documentary Journey into the Tragic Shooting


CHICAGO, IL- The Vision of Morton Grove, a suburb of Chicago, together with Cook County United against Hate Crimes and Cook County Commissioners Scott Britton and Maggie Trevor, orchestrated a profoundly impactful screening of the documentary film “Waking up in Oakcreek .” This documentary delves into the tragic shooting that occurred in Oakcreek, Wisconsin on August 5th, 2012, serving as a stark reminder of the urgent need for community solidarity and proactive measures to combat hate crimes.

The event aimed to foster understanding among diverse communities and to strategize effective ways to prevent such atrocities. Despite widespread invitations extended to numerous communities, the turnout was disappointingly low, with only a handful of individuals from the Sikh community in attendance. Among them were Thakar Singh Basati, his wife Bibi Rajinder Kaur Basati, and S Prempal Singh. The sparse Sikh representation raises questions about the community’s engagement and visibility in local affairs.

Organizers shared anecdotes revealing a concerning lack of interaction between long-time residents of Morton Grove and members of the Sikh community, despite their coexistence for over six decades. Many attendees expressed a genuine interest in learning more about Sikh culture and heritage, yet lamented the scarcity of accessible resources on the subject within local libraries.

Thakar Singh Basati’s personal connection to the Oakcreek tragedy underscored the profound impact of hate crimes on individuals and communities. Having known seven out of the eight victims, including the eldest, S Subeg Singh Khatra, who hailed from his hometown in India, Basati’s presence served as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity.

The documentary, crafted by S Pardeep Singh Kaleka, son of the late President S Satwant Singh Kaleka, offered a comprehensive exploration of the Oakcreek tragedy and the ensuing outpouring of support from both local and national communities. The physical remnants of the shooting, manifested in bullet holes still embedded in the Gurdwara Sahib building, served as a tangible testament to the enduring scars of hate-fueled violence.

The presence of staff from Commissioner Britton and Commissioner Trevor’s offices underscored the commitment of local government to address community concerns and provide support in the fight against hate crimes. Commissioner Britton’s close ties to the Sikh community, exemplified by his frequent visits to the Palatine Gurdwara, further reinforce the importance of fostering inclusive relationships across diverse communities.

Throughout the event, attendees were equipped with detailed information on various resources and avenues for combating hate crimes, reaffirming the collective resolve to stand united against bigotry and intolerance. As the evening concluded, it became evident that while challenges persist, moments of solidarity and shared purpose serve as beacons of hope in the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.


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