Faith Builders Rally Message:
Milwaukee - Fifteen days ago on a quiet Sunday morning, in a house of worship, our community was impacted by an act of extreme hatred and senseless violence.
Since that time we’ve grieved with the family members of our local Sikh Temple, we’ve heard tremendous stories of personal sacrifice and courage that were demonstrated both inside the temple, and outside, by our heroic first responders.
We’ve listened to the stories of the lives of the victims, and have been inspired by the tremendous strength, grace, and dignity of the family members in the face of this horrible tragedy. The kindness and support of all our residents, those in Wisconsin, the country, and the World has been nothing short of amazing, and this support continues even as we meet this evening. An outpouring of letters, e-mails, and voicemails all deliver the same message, “we stand with you.”
Here is one of those messages...
“I am proud of my city, Oak Creek. I am proud to be a citizen of a city that responded overwhelmingly with compassion and openness to a group of people that we are not entirely familiar with. I hope we continue to build bridges with ALL people in our city who look, sound, or pray in ways not familiar to us. We have a great opportunity to learn and grow and to build more bridges..."
That is the message I go forward with tonight, and where I will put my attention and efforts.
At the vigil in Oak Creek on the Tuesday night after the shooting, we came together as a community, praying together, honoring the victims, helping to calm and reassure each other, unconcerned with what is different about all of us, focusing instead on what we share.
I used these words at the vigil, and I stand by them tonight... ”we will not let this tragic event define us as a city.” Too often, events like these become the tagline for cities. You know the names…Aurora, Columbine, Tucson, College Station, Virginia Tech. But we can change that.
What we do from this point on can shift the attention from a violent act of extreme hate, to a community response that says simply, we will not accept this, and we will work as one family to stop it.
I ask you tonight to join me in those efforts...
City of Oak Creek