Regional
1:00 am
Sun August 4, 2013

Former White Supremacist Preaches Kindness, as Sikh Temple Shooting Anniversary Approaches

Monday is the first anniversary of the deadly shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek.

Last August 5, Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist, opened fire and killed six worshippers.

One of the victims was the temple president. In the year since the shooting, his sons have been promoting tolerance and nonviolence. They’ve been joined by a former white supremacist, Arno Michaelis. They’re among the leaders of the group Serve 2 Unite, whose aim is “to create a world where all faiths and all people are recognized, respected, and celebrated.”

Arno Michaelis is on the executive committee of the group Serve 2 Unite. It was formed after the Sikh temple shooting, August 5, 2012. Michaelis spoke Saturday at the Lanterns for Peace event in downtown Milwaukee
Arno Michaelis is on the executive committee of the group Serve 2 Unite. It was formed after the Sikh temple shooting, August 5, 2012. Michaelis spoke Saturday at the Lanterns for Peace event in downtown Milwaukee
Credit Ann-Elise Henzl

Michaelis says the group’s message includes promoting acts of kindness, no matter how small. According to Michaelis, it was one kind gesture on top of another, that helped turn him away from a life of hate years ago.

“Some of them were as simple as someone sharing a sandwich with me, or a Jewish boss saying I was a good kid, rather than firing me because I had a swastika. These all seem rather innocuous, and they didn’t change me on the spot, but they planted seeds,” Michaelis says.

A candlelight vigil will take place in Oak Creek Monday night, to remember the victims of the shooting.