By Linda Hartke, LIRS President and CEO
I write this morning on behalf of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) as we share America’s shock and grief over yesterday’s tragic shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. We are heart-broken at the lives lost of six beloved men and women in that community and lament this wounding of America’s proud legacy of welcome to newcomers.
Yesterday’s shooting is a painful sign that when fear and hatred of our neighbors take root – whether it be for the color of their skin, their faith, their culture or any other reason – the results can be catastrophic. As a national organization that stands for welcoming immigrants and refugees to American communities, LIRS stands in prayerful solidarity with the Sikh community and calls on all Americans to reach out to immigrants and refugees in their own communities in simple acts of hospitality and to challenge words and deeds that cultivate discrimination and hate.
We hold the family and friends of those killed and wounded in our prayers and will be vigilant in the call for justice for the crimes committed against them. While the lives lost cannot be restored, we will work tirelessly to rebuild respect, safety, and sense of belonging in American communities like Oak Creek.
Yours in faith,
President and CEO
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service