Guns

Anyone who knows about the aftermath of 9/11 will remember the story of Balbir Singh Sodhi.  A turbaned Sikh man, he was the first person murdered in a hate crime in response to 9/11.  It called national attention to anti-Muslim violence and galvanized action from all corners.  In Arizona, where three thousand people attended the memorial, the legislature honored Sodhi on the state’s 9/11 Memorial. His story has never been disputed.  Until now. This month, Arizona Representative John Kavanagh introduced a bill that would remove Sodhi’s name from the

Today, hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the California State capitol building for "American Sikh Day." In the crowd and on the stage, a handful of politicians donned Sikh turbans and others held up signs that read "We are all Sikh." California Senator Darrell Steinberg called today, April 13*, a day of solidarity with Sikhs in response to the shooting of two elderly Sikh gentlemen in Elk Grove, CA last month.  Surinder Singh, 65, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, were taking their daily afternoon walk

As I write this, my eyes are swollen from crying.  It's not that I'm not accustomed to the news.  Taxi drivers shot.  Kids bullied.  Gurdwaras set on fire.  And the routine "hey Osama" on the street.  For ten years, I've documented hate against Sikh Americans, as well as Muslim, Arab, and other South Asian Americans.  I was twenty when I began this work a few days after 9/11.  Now I'm thirty.  I didn't know I would be doing it for ten years. But that's not why I broke

Two elderly Sikh men, who wore turbans and beards, were gunned down in Elk Grove, CA during their daily afternoon walk.  Hate is not the confirmed motivation but likely, according to officials.  This news comes in a time when anti-Muslim rhetoric is once again reaching a fevered pitch.  A few weeks ago, protesters screamed "terrorists" at Muslim children walking to a charity fundraiser. Last week, Tennessee legislators proposed a bill that would essentially criminalize Islam in the state.  Last year, following the Park51 firestorm, mosques in Tennessee,

The new year begins in blood. Kenya is seized by violence. Benazir Bhutto is assasinated and Pakistan is consumed by riots. More soldiers are killed in Iraq. And here at home, terrible news spreads through the Sikh community -- two Sikh brothers are shot to death at their restaurant in Richmond, California: Two men shuffled down San Pablo Avenue on a wet December night. They passed a burger joint and doughnut shop before pausing at the door to Sahib Indian Restaurant. One banged on the window. "You open?" he

One month ago, on Christmas morning, Gurpartap Singh was murdered in his cab in Richmond, California. He was a turbaned Sikh cab driver, the fifth to be shot in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2002. The police called the murder an attempted robbery; local Sikhs saw it as part of a pattern of violence against their community since 9/11. I found out about Gurpartap’s murder the day after Christmas. We were eating chocolate chip pancakes around the kitchen table when the call came. I stumbled upstairs, took

Four years ago today, BALBIR SINGH SODHI was murdered in front of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona. His murderer Frank Roque yelled upon arrest, “I am a patriot.” Sodhi (pictured) was the first person of as many as nineteen people killed in the thousands of hate crimes that followed 9/11. This summer, I have traveled across the country to meet with families in targeted communities to find out how much has changed. Although numbers have fallen, there are continued reports of vandalism, beatings, and shootings. Perhaps most

We spent the weekend in Richmond, California, a city known for the highest crime rate in California. While driving, we saw a stop sign with bullet holes (pictured). In June 2003, two SIKH cab drivers, GURPREET SINGH and INDERJIT SINGH, were shot here within three days of each other. The morning after Gurpreet's murder, his fiance in India, devastated by the news, committed suicide. Inderjit Singh was shot in the face and survivied. Nothing was stolen from either cab. Weeks later, another turbaned Sikh cab driver, DAVINDER SINGH,

On Saturday, we entered the streets of San Francisco. Our first interview of the day was SEAN FERNANDES (pictured). Sean, from Calcutta, India, was with his white Australian friend ROBIN CLARKE days after Sept. 11, 2001. After walking out of a bar, they were confronted by a group of men and women who started taunting Robin for being with an “Arab.” The confrontation escalated and Robin was stabbed with a screwdriver. “Why he had a screwdriver I have no idea,” Robin told me four years ago. He

After a weeklong break in production, we hit the road again. We spent five days in Phoenix, Arizona, to revisit THE SODHI FAMILY whose story set this film in motion nearly four years ago. On September 15, 2001, BALBIR SINGH SODHI (pictured) was standing in front of his gas station, preparing to plant flowers. A man in a black truck pulled around the corner and shot him five times. Balbir, 52 years old, was the first person to be killed in a post-9/11 hate crime. When arrested, the