Witness three stories told over two decades shedding light on Sikh hate crimes in one nation. It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House. White supremacy is still all around us.
Medium Film Synopsis:
Respite is defined as a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. After 9/11, Sikhs became targets of hate crimes due to the misconceptions around their turbans and beards. This short
examines the calm before the traumatic storm, effecting children, adults, and the entire community. In September of 2001, a Sikh man is physically attacked at his gas station in front of his young son. In November of 2008, an elderly Sikh man is fearful of his life when verbally harassed by racist drivers on the road. In January of 2019, a white nationalist executes a mass shooting on a Sikh temple.
Written & Directed by Jaskaran Singh
In the middle of September 2001, a Sikh man was murdered outside of his gas station in one of the first post-9/11 hate crimes against that religious group. When asked, his family said that all the killer saw was a turban and a beard. As part of their faith, Sikhs are required to keep their hair uncut and wear a turban. These articles of faith have ignorantly become synonymous with acts of terrorism, giving free reign for those with hate in their heart to attack based solely on appearance. Almost twenty years later, while much progress has been made, a new brand of nationalism has risen targeting with extreme prejudice. What once felt like underground or receding racism has boldly bubbled to the surface again. A way in which that warped narrative can be challenged is with more widespread representation in media. Sikh representation remains confined to a world of taxi drivers, mistaken terrorists, and convenience store clerks. My hope is that this short allows for layered and complex roles for Sikh actors, while providing an audience with a window inside that cultural, religious, and social upbringing.