In Oak Creek, Wis., hearts open to Sikhs after temple shooting

by mgopin on August 23, 2012 · 3 comments

A candle light vigil is held Tuesday night, Aug. 7, in Oak Creek, Wis., for the victims three days after a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. The vigil was held during the national night out event at the Oak Creek Civic Center. Tom Lynn/AP

What happened Sunday will coax both groups to mix more tightly, says Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University inArlington, Va.

“One finds in such tragedies an amazing blend of shared rituals and expressions of care that cut across communal lines,” Mr. Gopin says. “Such gestures at the right time can say and do far more in terms of human relations than any words could ever accomplish. At the end of the day, grieving is about tears, sorrow, solidarity, comfort of survivors, and this is the universal language that cuts across all religions.”

With the sun setting over Oak Creek Wednesday, an evening festival, National Night Out, transformed from an annual event about public safety into one that gave the community the first opportunity to publicly gather since the tragedy.

As children hugged dogs from the local animal shelter and poked around the inside of a police squad car, and as cheerleading teams danced to routines with music supplied from a local deejay, the real attraction was neighbor-to-neighbor mingling.

Read the full article by Max Guarino in the Christian Science Monitor.

© Marc Gopin

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