Waking In Oak Creek Documentary Reveals Community’s Inspiring Response After Deadly 2012 Hate Attack at Sikh Temple of Wisconsin

U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office and Not In Our Town announce new film documenting town’s healing after hate crime shooting at Sikh Temple

Not in Our TownOakland, CA — Waking in Oak Creek, a new documentary film about a community working together to overcome tragedy after six worshippers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin were killed by a white supremacist, has been officially released by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) and Not In Our Town.

The film goes beyond the headline-grabbing violence of one of the most deadly hate crime attacks in recent U.S. history. In the year following the shooting, Oak Creek community members come together to heal, and to address underlying issues of intolerance in their town. Police Lt. Brian Murphy, shot 15 times in the attack, joins the mayor and police chief as they forge new bonds with the Sikh community. Young temple members, still grieving from the tragedy, emerge as leaders, and thousands gather for vigils and a 6K run to honor the victims. Together, a community rocked by hate is awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism.

"My faith is strong because as our world crumbled that day, the community stood up and helped us put that rubble back together to form an even stronger structure. This is hatred’s worst nightmare, and when we do this, we keep tragedies like this from happening,” said Pardeep Kaleka, son of the president of the Sikh temple who was killed during the attack.

Free DVDs of Waking in Oak Creek, community screening kits, lesson guides for educators, and outreach materials are now available for community and faith groups, civic leaders, schools, law enforcement, national organizations, and others for public screenings and discussions. These resources can be downloaded online at: www.NIOT.org/cops/wakinginoakcreek.

“The film will serve as a road map for discussions about best practices in community engagement to prevent hate crimes, support victims, and encourage proper hate crime enforcement,” said COPS Office Director Ron Davis.

“Waking in Oak Creek presents not just the tragedy, but the courageous response of police officers, and the inspiring leadership and response of the Sikh community, city leaders and community members,” said Patrice O’Neill, Not In Our Town CEO and the film’s Executive Producer. “Their stories show us what's possible when people join forces to face the danger of hate and intolerance, and commit to making their town safe for everyone.”

Waking in Oak Creek is the first in a series of five films released as part of the Safe, Inclusive Communities Initiative, a collaboration between Not In Our Town and the COPS Office. As part of this initiative, the COPS Office and Not In Our Town have joined forces to create vital new tools to help law enforcement professionals and community partners work together to prevent hate crimes, improve hate crime reporting, and address underlying tensions that can lead to violence.

About the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing public safety through community policing. Since 1995, it has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.

About Not In Our Town

Developed in 1995 by The Working Group, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit strategic media company, Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all.  NIOT films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate. Learn more at www.NIOT.org.

For a press kit, film trailer, high-resolution images, lesson guide for educators, and resources for screening Waking in Oak Creek in your community, visit: www.NIOT.org/cops/wakinginoakcreek.

CONTACT: Erika Gosser, [email protected], (510) 214-6468

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