turban Tag

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 1700% Project brilliantly captures the sense of cacophony and disorientation of post-9/11 violence for those who still live it -- all in five minutes. Amazing artwork, advocacy, and storytelling rolled into one.  Watch this video: 1700% Project: Mistaken for Muslim from Anida Yoeu Ali on Vimeo. Note: the artist mentions several stories featured in Divided We Fall, including Balbir Singh Sodhi (49, killed by a man yelling "I am an American all the way") and Amrik Chawla (chased by 4 men in Manhattan yelling "turban").

Sometimes magic happens. Last fall, through a series of coincidences, I met a woman named Valerie Courville. “My name is inside your name!” I told her. We took it as a sign. Valerie (pictured) introduced me to her 9 year-old son Dylan, an old soul with light in his eyes. They both grew close to my heart. It wasn't long before they offered to bring Divided We Fall to Dylan’s school – the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge, a private pre-K to 8 school that focuses on

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

Unlike most Sikh Americans my age, I never spent my summers at Sikh camps as a kid or attended Sikh youth conferences when I got older. As a third-generation Sikh American (my family has lived on the same plot of California farmland for nearly a hundred years), I had a very American name and couldn’t speak Punjabi well. So I grew up on the edges of the Sikh community. I always felt like an outsider – until I began the journey to make this film five years

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

Today we interviewed SHER SINGH (pictured) who was arrested on September 12, 2001 as the first suspected terrorist after the 9/11 attacks. He was riding a Boston-bound train when it stopped in Providence, Rhode Island. He was wearing a turban and kirpan, both articles of Sikh faith. His ‘suspicious’ appearance had caught the attention of the FBI who sent federal agents and local police with bomb-sniffing dogs to the station to intercept him. Officers rushed the entrance of the train and pointed rifles at the man: “Get your