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Sakia Gunn: 20 Years




Essex County College - Theater #1 - Saturday April 15 - 12:00p

Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project + Panel Discussion

Twenty years ago, Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old student was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime as she waited with her friends at a Newark bus stop. Two men targeted the group, flirting and then propositioning them. The girls rebuffed the sexual advances of the much older assailants. Words were exchanged, a fight ensued, and Sakia was stabbed.


Produced in 2008, Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project depicts the homophobia that led to this murder of a Black, gay teenager, and questions the lack of media coverage it received in the same year that Matthew Shepard garnered national attention. The documentary also follows the reaction within Newark, where several rallies and vigils were held, galvanizing the community and prompting several LGBTQ organizations to form, along with the creation of a memorial scholarship fund in Sakia's name, and the declaration by Newark's Mayor that May 11, the date of Sakia's murder, be deemed "No Name Calling Day."


Unfolding with the testimonies of Sakia's family and friends during the sentencing of the murderer, interviews of Sakia's best friend, Valencia, and exclusive footage of her vigil, Dreams Deferred pays homage to Sakia, and exposes the sensitive issues not often addressed regarding gender identity, homophobia and racism.

Directed by Charles B. Brack, United States, 2008, 58 minutes.


Following the screening, filmmaker Charles Brack, along with members of Sakia’s family and the Newark community, will discuss the ongoing impact of Sakia’s murder and, from the vantage of 20 years later, where we stand today.

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