Dear Friends,

Twenty years ago today, a Sikh father was murdered while planting flowers in front of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who called himself a patriot. Balbir Singh Sodhi became the first person killed in thousands of acts of hate in the aftermath of the horror of 9/11. Yet his name is not known to America. Let’s change that today.

Join us today in a digital day of action

Post his portrait & story on social media today.
Let’s tell the world his story. 

The image is a special portrait we commissioned for this anniversary, painted by a young Sikh woman of color.

Balbir Uncle wore his turban as part of his faith—his commitment to love all of humanity. What if we made the vision that he died for our North Star? What would the world look like if we valued human dignity above all? What if we chose, like Balbir Uncle, to treat all as family, to see no stranger? How would we be remembered 20 years from now?

Since Balbir Uncle’s murder, countless lives have been lost in hate violence at home, state violence abroad, and in the wars on terror in the last twenty years. The gas station where he died is the “second” Ground Zero — for all the people who have been killed or harmed by the way our nation responded to 9/11.

On this milestone anniversary, declare yourself an accomplice. Join our digital day of action. Then attend the virtual vigil. Watch the livestream from Mesa tonight starting at 7pm PDT on

In Chardi Kala — ever-rising spirits, even in darkness

P.S. We will be delivering the book of your prayers and messages of love and solidarity to the Sodhi family at the vigil tonight.


We collaborated with Sikh artist Sunroop Kaur on the portrait of Balbir Singh Sodhi for the 20th anniversary. In her words:

Balbir Singh’s loss will always be felt, and with this portrait, I wanted to convey the essence of who he was alongside his legacy. I wanted to capture the incandescent quality of an individual who always served as a beacon of light for his community and family. The portrait is saturated with rich color that energizes the space around it, like Balbir himself. The peacock represents purity and beauty and is the national bird of India. Marigolds are used in the background because they are symbolic in many parts of India. They are celebrated for their association to the sun and represent the divine light within all of us. I hope with this painting I am able to illustrate how he has truly touched us all. Read her full artist’s statement here.