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Seven years later, Sikh community continues to heal after mass shooting

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It was Aug. 5th, 2012 when a lone gunman walked into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek and opened fire killing six innocent worshipers.

Monday marks seven years since that tragic day.

One the victims was Satwant Singh Kaleka, a founder of the temple. CBS 58 spoke with his son, Pardeep Singh Kaleka.

"It is hard to move forward, but we need to move forward," he said.

In the wake of two deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio within 24 hours, Kaleka said he understands how those families feel. "There are families who are grieving, who had their lives devastated,” he said. "Those lives will never be the same again."

As the executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, he now advocates against hate.

Kaleka also served as the associate producer of a play called, ‘Rag Head: An American Story,’ inspired by the shooting. It explores American identity in relation to immigrant communities and hate crimes.

He feels it's an important discussion people need to continue to have. "We're all tired of this, we're sick of waking up to a news story about somebody being killed or some people being killed, or a mass shooting happening cause somebody was scared of that community."

Kaleka said the play helps those impacted heal.

"Those families still suffer today, and I know from speaking to those families, the way that they heal is they know community has surrounded themselves with them, their story and their journey."

There will be a "Vigil Against Hate" Monday night in honor of the Sikh shooting victims, as well as the people killed and injured in El Paso and Dayton.

Some of the temple members and the organization Forward Latino will host the vigil for all the recent shooting victims and those killed seven years ago in Oak Creek.

The vigil starts at 7 p.m. at Walker Square Park in Milwaukee.

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