Film on Fremont

fremont.jpgThe city of Fremont in the Bay Area probably doesnt need much introduction for most California Sikhs. A turn onto Gurdwara Road takes one into the residential area that houses the famous Fremont Gurdwara. A site of community energy, it has also been sporadically the site of community violence. Still the story of the Sikhs in Fremont is just one of Fremonts stories.

From a sleepy white city of 23,000, Fremont has become the Bay Areas fourth largest city with a population of over 200,000 and an Asian-majority. The city is home to the largest Afghan population in the US. The city has a prominent role in Khaled Hosseinis Kite Runner movie and novel, as many Afghans came to this city following the violence in their homeland during the Soviet invasion in 1979. My own experience with the Afghans living there was limited to the Afghan-Punjabi youth violence during the early/mid 1990s.

However the city is not limited to Sikhs or Muslims alone. Hindus, Jews, Christians and Buddhists also have sizeable populations in Fremont. Now the Harvard Pluralism Project has created a new documentary on the city, titled Fremont, USA.

For more than a decade, the Pluralism Project has studied and documented the new religious landscape of the United States. One of the cities visited in our early research inspired the documentary film Fremont, U.S.A.[link]

Sikhs play a role in the film, just as they do in the city.

Footage is shown from “Wear a Hijab Day,” where women of all faiths were encouraged to wear a Muslim headscarf, as Ansari did when she was shot, as well as a public anti-hate forum that took place in the aftermath of her slaying.

The film is a little dry for the big screen, but Pierce expects it will be used by interfaith groups and high schools, which can use Fremont’s stories as “a jumping-off point for the changes happening in their towns,” she said.

Sarabjit Cheema was vice president of the Fremont’s Sikh Temple when she was interviewed for the film in 2006. Although she hasn’t seen it yet, she said participating in its production helped her get more involved with the entire community.

“I started thinking that if the presence of Sikh community in Bay Area is being analyzed, then we are part of the community, and we should have more kinds of programs that help the community at-large,” she said.[link]

To watch a trailer of the video, click here. To view the actual film (if you live in the Fremont vicinity), the premiere will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Niles Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 255 H St. The screening will be followed by a discussion. Admission is free.


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8 Responses to “Film on Fremont”

  1. Haridner says:

    Bay area represent the best of “PIONEERING SIKH SPIRIT”
    Proud of Californian SIKHS who have truly set up a multi racial society where every one lives in peace and harmony.

  2. Haridner says:

    Bay area represent the best of "PIONEERING SIKH SPIRIT"

    Proud of Californian SIKHS who have truly set up a multi racial society where every one lives in peace and harmony.

  3. P.Singh says:

    Jodha, I'd love to hear more about the Afghan-Punjabi youth violence you mention in your post; I was completely unaware there was a clash between the two groups. I think it would be great to hear of your experiences during the time – if you're alright with sharing them.

  4. P.Singh says:

    Jodha, I’d love to hear more about the Afghan-Punjabi youth violence you mention in your post; I was completely unaware there was a clash between the two groups. I think it would be great to hear of your experiences during the time – if you’re alright with sharing them.

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