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Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.
The death of Balbir Singh Sodhi symbolizes the triumph of the Khalsa spirit. When killed last week in front of his business in Mesa, Arizona, the news simply reported the act as a "hate crime." But in a matter of days, the outpouring of grief over the loss of this man by his neighborhood community has commanded the attention of the entire world.

Balbir Singh was known by friends and neighbors as a quiet, gentle man. He practiced the Sikh values of Dharam di Kirat Karni and Vand Ke Chakna. Children have told reporters how Balbir Singh would let them buy candy from his store, even if they didn’t have enough money. The homeless shed tears as they recounted tales of his generosity to them. And neighbors came by the hundreds with candles, flowers, pictures and words to honor his noble memory. By the Guru’s hand, a grass-roots altar has appeared where his murder had taken place.

The neighborhood response to Balbir Singh’s passing has galvanized the entire Phoenix community. Over 4,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s Memorial Service at the Civic Plaza in Phoenix. Confidential sources report that the Civic Plaza has never hosted an event with such international focus, and special preparations are being made to handle all of the press and cameras that will come to record the tribute to Balbir Singh. The theme of the event is focused around Balbir Singh’s own message of peace, which he brought to the Guru Nanak Dwara just a few days before his death. He and his brothers met with the Sikh minister, Guru Roop Kaur Khalsa, discussing what they could do to protect the lives of innocent people and keep Americans’ hearts open to one another. That Balbir Singh could accomplish getting this message out through his death makes him no less than a martyr.

The Memorial Service will emphasize the simple messages of protecting innocent lives, of how both Sikhism and the US Bill of Rights promote tolerance of diverse religious beliefs, and how, through Unity, all people of consciousness can overcome the hatred that gave birth to the tragedies of the last two weeks.

The Memorial Service will take place at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Hall D, Saturday Sept. 22 from 10 am to 12 noon. If you would like to donate to the memorial fund for Balbir Singh Sodhi, please contact: or phone (602) 288-1550.


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The gas station where Balbir Singh was shot has become a memorial. Neighbors came by the hundreds with candles, flowers, pictures and words to honor his noble memory. View a few of the pictures of the memorial:

Images of Balbir Sodhi - Video slideshow created by the nephew of Balbir singh Sodhi, Phulpreet Singh. (Sept. 27th, 2001)


You can contribute to the memorial fund by sending contributions to the following address:

Balbir Singh Sodhi Memorial Fund
Bank One, Arizona
Mail Code AZ1-1285
241 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004 (USA)
Account #1308-8566

Exclusive report for SikhNet by Ek Ong Kaar K. Khalsa
September 21st, 2001