Yearly Archives


Latinos Leaving East Haven, CT

The Associated Press just covered our clinic’s case against racial profiling in East Haven, CT.  Here’s the story as published in the Washington Post: Citing police abuse, Hispanics leaving Conn. town — By MICHAEL MELIA The Associated Press Sunday, December 26, 2010; 3:22 PM EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Santiago Malave has worked law enforcement jobs in Connecticut for more than four decades, but as a Puerto Rican, he says he cannot drive through his own town without worrying about police harassing him. Malave, a probation officer who works in New Haven, says the racial abuse is so bad that he […]

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A Granddaughter’s Letter

Flowers surrounded the casket, and the casket was open. My grandmother Joginder Kaur looked like a doll-version of herself, a deep-pink chunni draped over still-black hair, her smile serene. We granddaughters spoke in turn, holding one another when tears caught in our throats. I read her a letter. DEAREST MUMMY JI, I’m having trouble, we’re all having trouble, finding the right words to offer you today. Words never seem enough when remembering someone you love, but words especially fall short to honor you. I think this is because your most authentic medium for expression was never words – that was […]

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In Memoriam: Joginder Kaur "Mummy Ji"

Joginder Kaur Gill, our sweet “Mummy Ji,” died surrounded by all her children and grandchildren at the age of 81 on Friday night. Mummy Ji was born on October 22, 1929 to Hardial Singh and Pritam Kaur in Patiala in Punjab, British India.  She married Captain Gurdial Singh Gill on October 10, 1945 (pictured), raised her family, and eventually followed them to Clovis, CA.  Mummy Ji lived a disciplined and spiritual life.  She began and ended her day with God’s Name, read the newspaper daily, and sang prayers in the classical Sikh tradition.  She cooked for her family, counseled her […]

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The 1700% Project

The 1700% Project brilliantly captures the sense of cacophony and disorientation of post-9/11 violence for those who still live it — all in five minutes. Amazing artwork, advocacy, and storytelling rolled into one.  Watch this video: 1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim from Anida Yoeu Ali on Vimeo. Note: the artist mentions several stories featured in Divided We Fall, including Balbir Singh Sodhi (49, killed by a man yelling “I am an American all the way”) and Amrik Chawla (chased by 4 men in Manhattan yelling “turban”).

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Week of the Peacemaker

Tonight, I write from Iona College, a small college founded by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle.  Dr. Teresa Delgado invited me as part of Iona’s Week of the Peacemaker “Advocacy: Speaking out for Justice” — a series of talks, films, and teach-ins that inform and inspire college students to advocate for justice. We just screened Divided We Fall for 50 college students, followed by an intimate discussion about the ways in which 9/11 still claims us. Students began by sharing memories of the terrorist attacks: one student almost lost her uncle, another saw the towers burning.  They were only children […]

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The Day of Release of Detainees

Today is Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world.  Many know the story of Diwali in the Hindu tradition: Lord Rama returns home after slaying the demon-king Ravana, and the people joyously light the kingdom with diyas, oil lamps. In the Jain tradition, Diwali marks Mahavira’s attainment of moksha (527 BC).  And in the Sikh tradition, Diwali marks yet another kind of return: Band Chhorh Divas, the Day of Release of the Detainees. Here’s how the story was passed down to me. In 1619, the Mhogal Emperor Jahangir, threatened by the emergence of […]

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Dream Fragment 1

Sometimes I think of myself as the girl with a thousand eyes, seeing the world through kaleidoscope vision, or fragments of multiple lenses  — legal, ethical, religious, somatic, political, personal. And so, in the effort to say more of “all that unsayable life,” I will share broken pieces of dreams, impressions, and memories on this blog too.  Here’s number one. A shattered world, shot through with light, the edges burn, and I catch my reflection.  On fresh cut grass, knuckles pressed in the ground, I tilt back my head, lips parted, and feel the sun on my skin. A spinning […]

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Rally to Restore Sanity: "You Go, Then I’ll Go"

It was the most soothing rally I had ever attended.  215,000 people on the mall, standing shoulder to shoulder, pressing in on all sides, and you had never seen a crowd so… calm.  Even blocks away from the main stage, people were exceedingly pleasant to one another — no pushing, no shoving.  They were happy to get a glimpse of the jumbo-trons, politely lowered their signs so that others could see, cheered on those who climbed trees to catch a better view.  Measured by the crowd alone, the Rally to Restore Sanity lived up to its name before the show […]

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Announcing Our Lawsuit

For the last year and a half, I’ve worked as part of a coalition of church leaders, residents, lawyers and fellow Yale law students to fight against racial profiling in East Haven, CT.  I was proud to join them to announce our next major action: filing a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of our clients in federal court.  Our press conference on television:

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Fighting Back Against Racial Profiling – NYT

We are filing a major lawsuit tomorrow on behalf of clients who have endured racial profiling and police brutality in East Haven, CT.  Our clients’ story just made the New York Times: Latino Immigrants to Sue a Connecticut Police Dept., Asserting Racial Bias By SAM DOLNICK When Yadanny García asked police officers in East Haven, Conn., why they were ordering him to the ground, they shocked him three times with a Taser gun, punched him and told him to “go back to your country.” When José Luis Albaraccín was arrested after questioning an officer, he was taken to the police […]

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