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Author: Pardeep Kaleka

Chardi Kala: A community reflects on six years since the Sikh Temple Shooting

In the memory of Paramjit Kaur, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, and Suveg Singh. “How is your community doing?” is the most common question we have been asked since the 2012 Sikh Temple Shooting in Oak Creek. My reply has always been, “we are in great spirits, we are in Chardi Kala (Relentless Optimism).” While most respond with an understanding nod, I sometimes see uncertainty in their eyes. How can a community be doing well after one of the deadliest hate crimes was committed in a place of sanctuary? To Sikhs, there is nothing better...

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When the power of positive thought becomes toxic

The reality of our society lacking compassion can be hard to swallow, especially with the awareness that the condition may have always been that way. The recent headlines in the news regarding the separation of immigrant families has us once again questioning if Milwaukee’s society, and the very foundation of our country, has any compassion. There are two very polar opposite views on the issue, and examining them from both extremes of the spectrum offers a better perspective on the social forces at work. On one side there are those who are very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants...

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Proximity, Similarity, and the Mechanics of Accepting Lies

As Donald Trump addressed the issue of California sanctuary city laws on May 17, he went on his latest rant about illegal immigrants in what has become a sustained assault on the psychology of Americans with his campaign to dehumanize people who are not white. Fresno County Sheriff Margret Mims conveniently set the stage with her comment, “There could be [a] MS-13 gang member I know about, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.” Trump responded, without mentioning anything specifically about MS-13, “We have people coming into the country or trying to come...

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Pardeep Singh Kaleka: The Gift of Our Wounds

Our journey began in America when I was 6 years old. When my mother, father, brother, and myself immigrated over, our status simply read “Resident Alien.” Coming from a small and humble faming town in Northern India, this was probably an improvement from the life that we would have led had we stayed, or was it? It can be concluded that this is probably the mindset of nearly every immigrant. The idea that this American Dream will lead to a better life. The year was 1982 when we moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a small manufacturing town, built on beer...

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A former police officer, educator, and massacre survivor speaks out against arming teachers

Mass shootings have taken a toll on the collective wellbeing of American psyche. It has been over a month since the Marjory Douglas High School shooting that claimed 17 lives, and we continue to feel disgust stemming from our inability to make any real progress or changes to create safer societies. Judging by the large scale student activism, numerous walkouts, and planned marches encouraging continual civic engagement, this debate is far from over. Complicating matters is the recent school shooting where the gunman was mortally wounded by the school resource officer in Maryland, saving countless lives. So what do...

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The Post Traumatic States of America and our communal fear

The tragedy in Parkland, Florida continued the recent trend of nearly one school shooting for every school day in America. While suffering, pain, and trauma has always been a part of our human experience, it seems lately we are being constantly bombarded by bad news. Everywhere we turn there are scrolling headlines of hate and constant memes of misery. This latest tragedy involved a known threat, who took the lives of 17 people with the use of an AR-15 assault rifle. Immediately, the trauma loop began. Denial and disbelief, prayers and condolences, anger over legislation, rationalization of the shooter’s...

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