“This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. Sakia was an Aggressive, according to GLAAD, a homosexual woman of color who dresses in masculine attire but does not necessarily identify as female-to-male transgender. Sakia held promise as a basketball player and was an “A” student, looking forward to becoming a senior at Newark’s West Side High School. On the night Sakia was murdered, she and her friends were returning from socializing at New York City’s Greenwich Village piers, at Christopher street, a popular spot for Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered youth. Two men targeted the group at a Newark bus stop station first flirting with 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. “Sakia and her friends didn’t mean anybody any harm that night. They were coming back from having fun at the Pier in New York, a place where they felt safe to be who they were.” says Laquetta Nelson of the Newark Pride Alliance.
“Dreams Deferred: The Sakia Gunn Film Project” depicts the homophobia that caused this murder and questions the lack of media coverage of the murder of a Black Gay teenager. “This 15 year old black lesbian was murdered, and I didn’t know about it”, says activist Swazzi Sowo of Black Rap in San Francisco. The documentary follows the reaction of the Newark community where several rallies and vigils were held, galvanizing the community and prompting several LGBT organizations to form, including the Newark Pride Alliance and Sakia Gunn Aggressives & Femmes, as well as a scholarship fund in her name. May 23, the day Sakia was murdered, was declared by the city of Newark’s Mayor as “No Name Calling Day”.
The story unfolds with the testimonies of Sakia’s family and friends during the sentencing hearing of the murderer. The hearing is inter-cut with interviews of LGBT community leaders, opinions of people in the community, interviews of Sakia’s best friend, Valencia, and exclusive footage of Sakia’s vigil. “Dreams Deferred” pays homage to this young Aggressive and exposes the sensitive issues not often addressed regarding gender-identity, homophobia and racism.”