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Monday, August 5, 2013

Newtown And Sikh Temple Victims’ Families Come Together

Lokinder Kaur, left, joins her son, Gurvinder Singh, in paying tribute to her late husband on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at a remembrance at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee. Kaur's husband, Ranjit Singh, was one of six people killed by a gunman last year at a Milwaukee-area Sikh temple, and the remembrance was among the events preceding the one-year anniversary on Aug. 5, 2013. (Dinesh Ramde/AP)

Lokinder Kaur, left, joins her son, Gurvinder Singh, in paying tribute to her late husband on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at a remembrance at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee. (Dinesh Ramde/AP)

A year after the deadly shooting at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, residents are marking the anniversary with remembrance services.

Pardeep Kaleka lost his father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, in the shooting. Satwant Singh Kaleka was the president of the Temple.

To mark the anniversary, Pardeep Kaleka invited Newtown parent Robbie Parker to speak in Oak Creek this past weekend.

We wanted to be everything that Adam Lanza was not. We wanted to be everything Wade Michael Page was not.

– Pardeep Kaleka

Parker’s six-year-old daughter Emilie was among the 20 first graders killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

Kaleka told Here & Now that the Sikh teaching of Chardi Kala — which he describes as “to go with a relentless optimism” — has been an important part of the healing process.

“You know bad things are going to happen to good people,” Kaleka said. “And to go with a relentless optimism means that you learn from those things.”

It’s also a philosophy that counteracts hate with peace, Kaleka said.

“We wanted to be everything that Adam Lanza was not. We wanted to be everything Wade Michael Page was not,” he said, referring to the Newtown shooter and the Sikh temple shooter — both of whom took their own lives at the scene, according to police.

Robbie Parker says he was glad to meet Kaleka and the rest of the Oak Creek Sikh community.

“It’s definitely a friendship,” Parker said. “As adults we talk about the differences, or at least we notice them. My daughter doesn’t, and I think that’s where we want to go from here.”

Kaleka agrees.

“We were just surprised at how optimistic kids can be even as they know something bad has happened,” Kaleka added. “Kids, I think, have that spirit of Chardi Kala more than adults do sometimes.”

Guests

  • Robbie Parker, father whose six-year-old daughter was among the children killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He is also a physician’s assistant and a Mormon.
  • Pardeep Kaleka, son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the president of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin, who was killed a year ago in a mass shooting at his temple.

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