Victory – Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill to Remove 9/11 Victim from Memorial

May 2nd, 2011

SALDEF Commends Sodhi Family, Local Community, and Arizona Governor

May 2, 2011: During a meeting with the family of Balbir Singh Sodhi, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed HB 2230 on Friday, April 29, 2011. The family, who had requested the meeting with the Governor, is overjoyed that the plaque listing the name of Mr. Sodhi will not be removed from the state’s 9/11 memorial. The memorial commemorates Mr. Sodhi’s death on September 15, 2001 as the first individual to be murdered as a result of post-9/11 backlash.

On September 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American, was murdered outside of his Chevron gas station in Mesa, Arizona by a man who wanted to ‘kill a Muslim’ in retaliation for the terrorist attacks. He selected Mr. Sodhi simply because he had a beard and wore a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith.

Governor Brewer expressed her deep condolences for the family’s loss and concern over the problematic bill. The Sodhi family and members of the Arizona Sikh American community also met with Representative John Kavanaugh, the bill’s sponsor, on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, during which he apologized for his poorly conceived bill.

This is why we love this country. The leadership is responsive. When we met with the Governor today and Representative Kavanaugh Tuesday they each honored my brother, our family, and our Sikh community with caring concern. We humbly requested that they help us so that our brother’s part in the local and national 9/11 history would not be denied. Our brother represents all 9/11 backlash victims,” stated Harjit Singh Sodhi.

SALDEF commends Rana Singh Sodhi, as well as the entire Sodhi family, and representatives of the Arizona Sikh American community, including Dr. Jaswant Sachdev and Gururoop Kaur Khalsa, for directly engaging with Rep. Kavanaugh and Gov. Brewer to ensure the bill would be vetoed. Furthermore, the composure and poise consistently demonstrated by the Sodhi family despite their loss should serve as an exemplar for the entire Sikh American community.

SALDEF thanks Governor Brewer for her prompt response in vetoing the bill and our local community partners, especially the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona for its involvement since the outset of this issue.

SALDEF thanks the community for its immediate response to our Action Alert; the Governor’s office received over 7,500 letters in less than three days asking that she veto HB 2230. This success would not be possible without your support!

To read Governor Brewer’s letter explaining why she vetoed the bill, click here.

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