The Ten Year Anniversary of 9/15

I’m writing tonight from Mesa, Arizona, where a family friend was murdered ten years ago.  His name was Balbir Singh Sodhi.He was a turbaned Sikh man who owned his own gas station and was well-loved for his generosity and broad smile.On Sept. 15, 2001, he visited Costco to buy flowers and emptied his pocket to make a donation to the 9/11 relief efforts in the check out line.  A few hours later, he was shot and killed in front of his store by a man who called himself a “patriot.”

Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first of dozens of people killed in anti-Muslim hate crimes after 9/11.  

What happened next is remarkable. His family found the courage to speak to local media and his story spread through the community.

By this time tonight, a stunning memorial of flowers, cards, and candles had grown at the gas station.  Hundreds of people held vigil; three thousand came to his memorial service.  It was a groundswell of love and support and moral courage.

His story touched the lives of many people — and it completely shaped mine.

As a college student, I began a journey to make a documentary film to tell his story.  Divided We Fall has screened in 200 cities worldwide and reached thousands of people, thanks to my co-producer Sharat Raju, our amazing team, and so many of you.

In honor of the ten-year anniversary, we have launched a new official website for Divided We Fall with free dialogue guides, educational curriculum, film clips, and calls to action.  We hope you all can use the film and these new resources as teaching tools.

Click here for the film:

We invite you to watch and share the film this week. (You can find it on Netflix and Amazon too).

In a few moments, I’ll be joining the Sodhi family for a memorial service in Arizona.  If you would like me to share any messages with the family, please email me tonight:

Remember 9/11.  Remember 9/15.