The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is a moment to reckon with our past and reimagine our future. We mourn the thousands of lives lost that day. We also grieve the hate violence and state violence on people of color in the twenty years since 9/11. This learning hub is a place to learn about the decades-long impact of 9/11 on people of color through the work of Sikh activist Valarie Kaur. Watch the film. Read the book. Download the guides. Stand in solidarity.

DIVIDED WE FALL: AMERICANS IN THE AFTERMATH

The go-to film on hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11. Watch the 20 year anniversary re-release for free.

In the wake of 9/11, Valarie Kaur set out across the country as a college student, camera in hand, to document stories of hate violence on people of color, especially Sikh Americans. Galvanized by the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh father and family friend, Kaur captures stories that were not on the evening news. From the still-shocked streets of Ground Zero to the desert towns of the American west, her journey confronts the forces unleashed in a time of national crisis–racism and religion, fear and forgiveness. Kaur’s film chronicling her journey, Divided We Fall (2006) with director Sharat Raju, toured in 200 U.S. cities, won a dozen international awards, and became known as the go-to documentary on post-9/11 hate crimes.

Now on the 20 year anniversary, we re-release the film for free, available to anyone, along with dialogue and educational guides. Watch and engage to learn the untold story of the impact of 9/11.

SEE NO STRANGER: A MEMOIR & MANIFESTO OF REVOLUTIONARY LOVE

A must-read to understand the decades-long impact of 9/11 on people of color. 

See No Stranger is a personal and communal chronicle of the last twenty years through the eyes of a renowned Sikh activist. Valarie Kaur takes readers through her own riveting journey — as a Sikh girl growing up in California farmland finding her place in the world; as a young adult galvanized by the murders of Sikhs after 9/11; as a law student fighting injustices in American prisons and on Guantanamo Bay; as an activist working with communities recovering from xenophobic attacks; and as a woman trying to heal from her own experiences with sexual assault and police violence. Drawing from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists, Kaur reclaims love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world.

SEE NO STRANGER is a practical guide to changing the world, a synthesis of wisdom, a chronicle of personal and communal history – all joined together by a story of awakening. Revolutionary love is medicine for our times. It just might be our best chance for our collective future.

TED: Revolutionary Love in a Time of Rage

Fifteen years after Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered in a hate crime after 9/11, his brother Rana Sodhi calls the murderer in prison — and they begin a process of reconciliation. Hear the story in Valarie Kaur’s spellbinding TED Talk (3 million+ views). Through a journey that spans the birthing room to sites of bloodshed, Kaur teaches how to be brave with our grief, harness our rage, and reimagine a world where we leave no one behind.

STAND WITH THE SODHI FAMILY

On September 15th, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American father, was killed while planting flowers in front of his gas station in Arizona by a man who called himself a patriot. He became the first person killed in hate violence after 9/11. He was the first of thousands of people whose lives have been lost or shattered by the way our nation responded to 9/11. We responded to aggression with enormous aggression, at home and abroad, for twenty years – war, torture, surveillance, deportations, detentions, and hate violence that continues today.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed for wearing his turban as part of his faith, his commitment to love all of humanity. What if we took the value that he died for, and made it our North Star? What would the next 20 years look like if we valued human dignity above all? What if we chose, like Balbir Uncle, to see no stranger? How will we be remembered 20 years from now?

Click here to watch the vigil

Organized by our friends at the Sikh Coalition

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20 yrs ago a Sikh father #BalbirSodhi was the 1st person killed in hate violence after 9/11. He was targeted for his turban—his commitment to love all humanity. What if we made the vision he died for our North Star? Join us: 911Hub.org #20YearsSince

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Twenty years ago, a Sikh father was murdered in front of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who called himself a patriot. Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first person killed in thousands of acts of hate in the aftermath of 9/11. Since his murder, countless lives have been lost or shattered by the way our nation responded to 9/11 — in decades of war, torture, surveillance, deportations, detentions, and hate violence that continues today.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was a kind-hearted and generous man, whom many called “Uncle.” He would give candy to children who came to his gas station as if they were his own children. He let people who didn’t have money for gas fill up and go. His brothers would shake their heads in disbelief. Was he a saint or a fool? But Balbir Uncle would just smile, saying God wants us to serve all. He and his brothers had come to America to escape religious persecution against Sikhs in India. He was planting flowers in front of his gas station when he was shot in the back, targeted for his turban.

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? #BalbirSodhi #20YearsSince

Original artwork by Sunroop Kaur, @loquacious_lines

Additional Resources We Recommend


“Before September 15, 2001, the Mesa Star Chevron was just like any of the thousands of gas station and convenience store combos that dot the American landscape. It was a business that Balbir Singh Sodhi built from the ground up, in hopes that it would allow him to control his destiny and provide a better life for his family.

Four days after 9/11, however, the Mesa Star Chevron grew to represent a difficult truth: That for a certain subset of Americans, the American Dream was always fragile — and their place in the nation’s fabric was too.”

Read the CNN feature on Balbir Singh Sodhi.

In the American Book Award–winning We Too Sing America, nationally renowned activist Deepa Iyer shines a light on an unexplored consequence of modern-day terrorism: the ongoing, state-sanctioned persecution of a range of American minorities. Get the book

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, by Arjun Singh Sethi, a community activist and civil rights lawyer, is a moving and timely collection of testimonials from people impacted by hate before and after the 2016 presidential election. Get the book

Named a best book of the year by the New York Times, Boston Globe, NPR, and Publishers Weekly, journalist Anand Giridharadas’ The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, is a profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions. Get the book

The Teaching Beyond September 11th Project’s curriculum for high school and college students has been developed by a diverse range of scholars, practitioners, and community activist leaders working with communities impacted by 9/11. Learn more

With stories spanning from the 1780s to the present day and bringing together the voices of sixty-four authors, Our Stories: An Introduction to South Asian America demonstrates the diversity, vibrancy, and power of the South Asian American community. Learn more

This 75-minute town hall provided an intimate space to reflect on the events of 9/11/01 and how it has shaped the past 20 years. Hear leaders from four different communities share their experiences of that morning and tell how they turned catastrophe into a catalyst for their life’s work: activism, research, teaching and writing that aim to protect, inspire and serve. Watch now

PROCESS: 20 YEARS SINCE is a mini-docuseries and interactive digital exhibition which amplifies our young siblings’ calls to process — the past twenty years, and the next twenty years — in just, transformative, and unifying ways. Watch now

From a failed “war on terror” with dubious origins to the legal black hole of Guantanamo — take a look back at the practices and policies of the past 20 years and their present day implications in this FRONTLINE documentary that includes an in-depth interview of Valarie Kaur, American After 9/11Watch the documentary

Although there’s no ‘correct’ target for hate, misdirected Islamophobic violence against Sikh Americans has continued for two decades. The Takeaway spoke with activist and author Valarie Kaur about what the post 9/11 era has meant for Sikh Americans in this episode, “How Islamophobia Has Impacted Sikh Communities.” Listen now