Guantanamo

On June 22, I had the privilege of spending the afternoon at the White House at the invitation of the President. A typical work day.  I was invited as one of 150 community leaders across the country for a briefing and reception in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage. The invitation came as a surprise -- and a long-held dream come true.  To shake the President's hand and say

I've just received an invitation from President Obama to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing and reception in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage.  The shock is not wearing off. I've asked Sharat to come with me, and both of us are brainstorming about how to make this visit useful.  There's so much on our minds --preparing for the 9/11 anniversary, supporting multifaith movement building, mobilizing Millennials, standing up for Sikh and Muslim Americans, pushing for immigration reform and LGBT equality and closing Guantanamo

Last week, the Obama Administration decided to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others accused Sept. 11 conspirators before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, rather than a civilian court in the U.S. After Obama signed the declaration to close Guantanamo on this first day as President, he tried to bring these suspects to New York for a federal trial, but the public protested, Congress tied his hands, and he apparently didn't have the political will to fight for it.  As the Guantanamo military commissions ramp

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

Omar Khadr's war crimes trial begins this month in a courtroom I remember well. Last October, I traveled to Guantanamo to report on a hearing in the military commissions for Khadr, the young Canadian citizen who allegedly threw a grenade that killed a soldier in Afghanistan. I witnessed a courtroom where rules are twisted to favor the accusers.  I had hoped that the Obama Administration would decide to place Khadr in federal court and end military commissions on Guantanamo, as promised on the campaign trail. Instead, Guantanamo

It is the eve of the fourth anniversary of September 11, the event that changed the world for many people and shifted the entire course of my life. In the aftermath of 9/11, I journeyed across America with my camera, documenting stories of hate violence against minority communities, including my own. Now four years later, I am a graduate student making a feature film about my journey. Still consumed by these stories and their questions, I traveled with my film crew to revisit Ground Zero on August