California Tag

In the last week of January, my co-producer Sharat Raju and I traveled with our film Divided We Fall around the state of Michigan -- from a screening at Wayne State University in Detroit, to a workshop at the South Asian American Network conference at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to a day at an all-girls Catholic high school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield. Our audiences were diverse, but a central theme seemed to rise throughout our visit: young people learning to

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

I am blinking in the stage lights. I can barely make out the faces of the nearly 400 people who have filled the plush red seats of the enormous theater. There are tiny beams of light in the back of the theater - ushers dressed in black and white attire using flashlights to show people to their seats. I take a deep breath and welcome everyone to the Stockton premiere of Divided We Fall at San Joaquin Delta College in our most elegant venue yet. Delta College is

Lieutenant Governor CRUZ BUSTAMANTE hosted the formal California premiere of Divided We Fall a few steps away from our state capitol tonight. Beneath the great dome of the Secretary of State building, hundreds of people mingled, holding plates of Indian food, waiting for the doors to open for the premiere. The Lieutenant Governor came to welcome us and express his excitement about the film. (Spot us in the crowd

Today, California's first Spinning Wheel Film Festival was held in Orange County, California. On the eve of the festival, the Sikh Center of Orange County held a gala banquet and organizer Bicky Singh invited us to offer a SNEAK PREVIEW of Divided We Fall. Our director/editor/producer extraordinaire Sharat Raju cut together a brand-new seven-minute trailer, weaving together voices and faces from the film with music from the film’s original score created by composer Sagar Jethani. (The sneak preview will be featured on the film's official website at

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

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,

When the FBI arrested two Pakistani-Americans as suspected terrorists in Lodi, CA this June, the small farming town became the center of national and international media attention. But news media has not shown the extent to which the FBI has followed, monitored, and intimidated the greater Muslim American community there, including families who have lived and farmed in Lodi for generations. VEENA DUBAL, my classmate at Stanford, detailed the Lodi case in her article, The FBI Witch-Hunt in Lodi, California. Read her article for the entire story about

Today, we interviewed California Assemblymember Judy Chu who pioneered a number of hate crimes legislation to protect the rights of Sikh, Arab, and Muslim communities in California since September 11, 2001. She spoke with knowledge and eloquence about how lives have changed for many minorities who now fear discrimination in their own neighborhoods. She remembers learning about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II in college as a student of Asian American Studies. Her awareness of the power of fear and hysteria in times of war

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