The East Valley Tribune
(Gaurav Singh, a relative of Balbir Singh Sodhi, kneels by a memorial outside the Mesa Star Convenience store where Sodhi was shot and killed in September 2001. Photo by Tim Hacker, Tribune)
Jews, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs alike poured out their hearts at the memorial for the man who had been shot for looking like a Muslim. The mood was sorrowful, but those who talked to the media had hope for peace and unity.
“I feel like he was the sacrificial lamb to bring us together,” one woman said.
Four years later, however, Sikhs as well as Muslim and Arab Americans, still face regular discrimination in the Valley and across the nation.
They are stared at in grocery stores and airports. They are given the finger while driving Valley streets. Sodhi’s brother, Rana Sodhi, even is told to “go back to Iraq” while working at the same store where his brother was killed.
A feature-length documentary due out early next year examines why some Americans became so violent and aggressive against Sikhs and other groups after Sept. 11. It tells the stories of the people changed forever by that violence, including Balbir Singh Sodhi’s family.
That journey started as Kaur sat in her bedroom for three days after learning of Sodhi’s Sept. 15, 2001, murder.