In Remembrance of Balbir Singh Sodhi

Today, we remember Balbir Singh Sodhi, a hard working American, who lost his life to hate 13 years ago in Arizona. He was one of the first victims to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. As a practicing Sikh, Balbir wore a turban and sported a beard, leading his attacker to believe he was a terrorist. As Balbir was planting flowers outside his gas station, he was shot five times by his attacker.

Now, Balbir’s turban from that tragic day lies within the ‘Beyond Bollywood’ exhibit in the Natural History Museum in Washington, DC.

Mr. Rana Sodhi, Balbir’s brother, spoke to UNITED SIKHS about the memory of his brother and the fight against ignorance: “Since 9/11/2001, a lot of innocent people have been killed. Ignorance took my brother’s life. I lost two brothers in a 10 month period. Despite these things, i feel so proud to be a part of this country. The love and respect expressed by the government and community gives encouragement to my family to speak for justice and our freedoms. It gives me encouragement to make our country better. I am so proud of this country and I honor my brothers as I talk to elementary schools students and educate the community about our religion.”

The Sodhi family’s congressional representative, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (9-AZ), also commented, “Today we remember Balbir Singh Sodhi, whose life was cut short due to a vicious shooting. I condemn all acts of violence against innocent civilians; those who commit such acts should be held accountable. In America, we celebrate diversity, and it is in Balbir’s legacy that we must work to ensure that celebration. My deepest thoughts are with the family of Balbir.”

In July, UNITED SIKHS met with over 30 government and congressional offices to discuss issues of discrimination and hate. UNITED SIKHS is committed to fighting for the Sikh community’s rights to practice their religion freely in America, and abroad. We continue to work hard with the United States government to assure ignorance is quashed through education, and justice is brought forth for those who fall victim to hate.

If you are a victim of hate, report it here:


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