Chicago Public Library Partners with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations to Present a Free Film Screening of Documentary, Waking in Oak Creek, as well as a “Human Rights Day” Panel Discussion

November 24, 2015

Mona Noriega    312.744.4135

***Please note, this is a revised press release with new information***

On August 5, 2012, as the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin prepared for Sunday prayers, a deadly hate attack shattered their lives when a white supremacist fatally shot six worshipers and wounded four others. The violent act was immediately abhorred, drawing responses from President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other dignitaries. The shocking accounts of this devastating attack, as well as the inspiring, emotional and uplifting community response are documented in the film, Waking in Oak Creek.

Chicago Public Library, in partnership with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), presents a free screening of Waking in Oak Creek, on Thursday, December 10 at 6 p.m., in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (Lower Level) at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.  In addition, Not In Our Town has donated numerous DVD copies of Waking in Oak Creek to the Library, and they are available for check out at neighborhood branches throughout the city. This event is presented as part of the Library’s continuing efforts to strengthen communities and nurture learning, as well as to highlight programming for Chicago Public Library’s 2015-16 One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) selection, The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja.

Waking in Oak Creek profiles how a local community is awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism. Residents of the Oak Creek community, the mayor, the police chief and police department work together to forge new bonds with their Sikh neighbors. Inspired by the efforts of several young temple members and a police lieutenant—who was shot 15 times in the attack—thousands of residents gather for prayer vigils and other events to honor the victims and work to overcome this tragedy, stand up against hate, and create a safe town for all Oak Creek residents.

Moreover, as an observance to Human Rights Day, the film screening is followed by a panel discussion. Panelists include: Patrice O’Neill, film producer, and an award-winning media producer; Pardeep Kaleka, eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka—the president of the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, who was gunned down during the attack; Kalia Abiade, advocacy director at Center for New Community; Precious Davis, lauded both locally and nationally as an award-winning diversity professional, social justice facilitator and performance artist; Sargent Lori Cooper, Chicago Police Department; and Stephen Scaffidi, mayor of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Major support of this program is provided by the United States Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), Einhorn Family Community Trust, Reva and David Logan Foundation, The ATHENA Fund, and CrossCurrents Foundation. Furthermore, this film is being released as part of the Not In Our Town: Working Together for Safe, Inclusive Communities Initiative, a collaboration between Not In Our Town and the COPS Office.

Chicago Public Library presents a variety of programs in conjunction with the current One Book, One Chicago (OBOC) selection, The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja, focusing on Chicago in its postwar prime and describing the city’s profound impact on modern America and the world. In addition, from October through April 2016, OBOC—along with our community partners—will explore a central theme—Chicago: The City That Gives and for the first time offer related programs in every neighborhood branch library. 

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations is charged with enforcing the City of Chicago’s anti-discrimination laws, and under the city’s Hate Crimes Law, CCHR advocates for victims of hate crimes. This collaboration advances the CCHR’s efforts to provide education and build community by bringing people from different groups together to facilitate discussion on the topics of hate and hate crimes.

Since 1873, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S. and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany.

One Book, One Chicago is presented by Chicago Public Library and the City of Chicago; and is made possible by the Chicago Public Library Foundation through generous support from The Chicago Community Trust, BMO Harris, Allstate and United Airlines. For more information, visit, or please call (312) 747-4050.


I Want To