Monday, May 2nd, 2011

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

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.

24 Responses to “Victory – Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill to Remove 9/11 Victim from Memorial”

  1. Very Happy today!

  2. meghan says:

    Thank you Gov. Brewer!

  3. Dolly Brar says:


  4. Jot says:

    Thanks to everyone who signed and requested to veto the bill. This is a great victory!

  5. Gurinder says:

    Congrats to Gov Brewer for her enlightened state of being — that is truly leadership in action! Also – thanks to the organizations and sodhi family for their compassion and approach.

  6. G says:

    All of this is a result of sangat’s ardaas and Guru’s mehar.
    Guru Ang Sang.

  7. G. S. Rahi says:

    Thank you very much Govenor Brewer. May God bless you!!!

  8. Jagjit Sandhu says:


  9. Seva Simran Siri Singh Khalsa says:

    Thank you to all those who notified Gov. Brewer about the bill she would have signed w/o our participation. And of course to the Sodhi family and SALDEF. This is true democracy at work.

    Best Regards,
    Dr. Seva Simran Siri Singh Khalsa, DOM, L.Ac.
    Espanola, NM

  10. This is such good news. Thank you to everyone at Saldef and everyone who signed (which I did too :-) ) and everyone who publicized this action. I am so happy for the family that they are not being disrespected this way. I hope that this never comes up again.

  11. L0ve says:

    Victory not only for the Sodhi family but for the Sikh minority!!! Thanks for recognizing us Gov. Brewer.

  12. edie lederfeind says:

    Thank you for the priviledge to sign this petition – I as one simple American who has followed Sikh History am honored to have been just one of many Americans who signed to remember a fallen American Rana Singh Sodhi -

  13. Peter says:

    Respect EVERYONE who lost their lives as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

  14. 9/11 is the only day when the loved ones of the deceased get together and retain their times of happiness. They should never lose this privilege because it’s a bond that can never be separated and a responsibility that can not be changed.

  15. [...] fundraiser, legislators proposed a flurry of bills banning sharia in more than a dozen states, and Arizona tried to pass a bill that would remove the name of a victim of post-9/11 hate murders from i…. It was only a matter of time before we heard news of violence.  Just a few days before the [...]

  16. [...] Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill and offered condolences to the Sodhi family. A testament to what is possible when good people mobilize quickly to correct a wrong. This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. ← Witnessing Guantanamo-Style Justice Bin Laden’s Death: Why I Can’t Celebrate →     [...]

  17. Harpal Singh says:

    Thank you SALDEF and Thank you Governor of Arizona. Now our valiant troops got OBL finally. God bless America.
    Thank you Governor once again
    Harpal Singh

  18. [...] Defense Fund (SALDEF), who in the past week created a petition to support a veto of the bill, released a statement yesterday: SALDEF commends Rana Singh Sodhi, as well as the entire Sodhi family, and representatives of the [...]

  19. Manjit Dhaliwal says:

    Dear Saldef:

    We all should thank the Governor, Arizona for being sympathetic to us and vetoing the bill as requested. Therefore, I think you should send a thank you link to all of your subscribers,mailist
    members, etc.

    I will try finding the Governor’s email and write her a thank you email but we all should do that.!!

    And thanks to you too because this would not have been possible without your help.!!!

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    Manjit Singh Dhaliwal

  20. edie lederfeind says:

    my apologies for any semblance of disrespect – The grief in my heart for our losses is immense and to show respect for all is my only intent

  21. Dr. Piara Singh says:

    Thank you Governor. You being elected by the people, should educate yourself and know about Sikhs who they are. S. Dalip Singh Dasondh was the first Sikh Congresman elected from Imperial County in 1952. In 1890, First Sikh came to USA and Today in America, population of Sikhs is close to one million. We are known as Doctors, Engineers, Scientists, Professors, Agriculturists and businesmen. Greatnes lies in admetting one’s mistake. Thank you again.

  22. [...] This heavy dose of religious faith, activism, violence, tragedy, and triumph made this third day of our tour a rather heavy one to process. I was particularly moved by the well-known case of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh from India, who was gunned down in the wake of 911 because his assailant wanted to “kill a Muslim.” Sodhi’s death reminded me of the worry experienced by members of my own family, living in New York, in the wake of 911. Was Sodhi a victim of 911? Apparently, the state of Arizona did not think so and for some time toyed with the idea of removing his name from a memorial for victims of 911. In April 2011 the state backed down in deference to the wishes of the Sodhi family and thousands of individuals who had petitioned on their behalf. That is where the matter rests, for now. More details are available at [...]

  23. [...] would have effectively become law. During another meeting, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, whose office received over 7,000 messages from Americans from all backgrounds demanding that she tak…, vetoed the bill as the Sodhi family watched in [...]

  24. [...] Ten years later, in April of 2011, in an unfathomable turn of events, Arizona Governer, Jan Brewer, was seriously deciding on signing a bill to remove Balbir Singh Sodhi’s name from the state’s 9/11 memorial and sell his memorial plaque as scrap metal! Thankfully, because of Sikh organizations like SALDEF and the word getting out through social media sites like FaceBook and Twitter, Brewer vetoed the bill, but the fact it was being considered is cause for alarm itself (read about it here). [...]

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