“A DREAM IN DOUBT” HATE
CRIME DOCUMENTARY SCREENED IN CHICAGO
Chicago, April 24, 2008
Rajinder Singh Mago
Advance screening of a cinema documentary “A DREAM IN DOUBT”,
coming to PBS on Independent Lens an award winning series, in MAY
2008 took place at The Chicago Cultural Center (Claudia Cassidy
Theatre) in Downtown Chicago, on April 19. The film was inspired
by the post 9/11 backlash murder of a Sikh American Balbir Singh
Sodhi, who wore a turban and beard, articles of his faith, and looked
like the enemy to his murderer Frank Roque.
It was the first hate- based murder in the wake of September 11,
2001- One of thousands reported and unreported hate crimes in the
years that followed.
The victim Balbir Singh Sodhi, a turbaned Sikh man in Mesa Arizona
where his family had sought religious freedom and work, was searching
for the American Dream. The Sodhi family is still determined to
believe in that dream even as the nightmare continues for many religious
and ethnic minorities in a climate of xenophobia and fear.
“A DREAM IN DOUBT” told from the perspective of the
victim's brother Rana Sodhi, portrays one of America's first post
9/11 hate crime murders punctuated by a growing wave of violence
in retaliation for the terror attacks. A DREAM IN DOUBT travels
to Mesa, Arizona to reveal a story of national tragedy, murder,
community and the American dream.
Following the screening, the film's director and a panel of guest
speakers engaged the keen audience in a lively discussion about
the unfortunate rise in hate crimes directed at innocent Sikhs,
Muslims, Arabs and South Asians since 9/11, bigotry against immigrant
populations and the wearing of the turban. The discussion ranged
from a few misguided bad apples to systemic problems, education,
diversity, and multicultural awareness.
Ninety percent of those who wear turbans and beards in America
are Sikhs (an independent religion), who are originally from India
and not the Middle East or Afghanistan.
The panel moderated by Ms. Inhe Choi of CAAAELII included Tami
Yeager, Director/Producer of the film, Rajinder Singh Mago of Punjabi
Cultural Society of Chicago (P.C.S.) , Pankaj Kapoor of United Taxidrivers
Community Council, and Mr. Sayed Khozindar interim director of United
Taxidrivers Community Council.
The film was co-produced by Preet Mohan Singh of SALDEF, Naomi
Walker of ITVS organized the screening. The event was sponsored
by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The Coalition of
African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois
(CAAAELII), The Taxi Workers Organizing Project, American Friends
Service Committee, ITVS and WTTW Channel 11.