Arizona Tag

By Anju Kaur Published by SikhNN. A new kind of activism was born out of the Balbir Singh Sodhi tragedy ten years ago when he became the first person killed in the backlash against those perceived to be related to the 9/11 attackers. About 100 people gathered at his Mesa, Arizona, gas station to remember Balbir Singh who was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2011. He was shot because of his Sikh identity of unshorn hair and turban. His attacker, Frank Roque, went on a rampage, shooting him five times

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

Osama bin Laden's face is all over the television.  People are flooding the streets waving American flags.  The President speaks of our unity and resolve as a nation.  And 9/11 is on everyone's mind.  This has all happened before. Except this time, ten years after 9/11, we are not grieving death; we are celebrating death.  We have slain Osama bin Laden - the one who first slayed us.  And we are singing and laughing and high-fiving.  As if this is the end.  As if violence can end a

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

In the last few weeks, as the national firestorm over the "Ground Zero Mosque" reached a deafening pitch, I have not been able to stop thinking about a handmade sign hanging in a gas station in Mesa, Arizona. On September 15, 2001, a turbaned Sikh man was murdered in front of this gas station, the first of at least two dozen people murdered in hate crimes in the months after 9/11. Neighbors and strangers sent hundreds of flowers and cards and messages, but the family chose this sign

There was a red carpet. Four hundred fifty people. Press cameras. Hot food. Banners that read "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." A whirl of conversation that settled when the film began. And a standing ovation when it ended. It was the night of our world premiere in Phoenix, Arizona, and it officially launched Divided We Fall into the world. The premiere was held on the eve of the five-year memorial of Balbir Sodhi's murder. Hosted by the Phoenix Sikh community, the event was a memorial for those

To commemorate the four-year anniversary of the murder of Balbir Sodhi, Arizona's East Valley Tribune ran a front page article about his story and our film Divided We Fall. Sikhs Still Living in the Shadow of Sept. 11. Nick Martin On a Saturday in 2001, less than two weeks after the S ept. 11 terrorist attacks, thousands gathered at Phoenix Civic Plaza to honor a man most had never met. (Gaurav Singh, a relative of Balbir Singh Sodhi, kneels by a memorial outside the Mesa Star Convenience store where Sodhi was

We have arrived in New York City to begin production on the East Coast. After we picked up our equipment, we had our first interview with AMARDEEP SINGH (pictured), legal director of the SIKH COALITION, a civil rights organization created in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I had first met Amar and other founding members of the Coalition in December 2001, when I interviewed them at a round table after one of their first meetings. Back then, they were a group of young Sikh professionals who came together

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

Today we sat with a group of Japanese Americans who shared their memories of the Internment during World War II. In their seventies and eighties, they exuded the warmth and wisdom of grandparents. All of them were born in the United States. The afternoon was organized by Janelle Saito, the mother my dear friend Brynn, at the United Japanese Christian Church in Clovis, California. We talked with this group for hours. At times, they drew haunting parallels to present-day America. Here are sketches of their stories. Aiko