A Letter from an Educator


Dear Educators,


If you teach a world language, world history, or if you have a program promoting multicultural understanding at your school, I would urge you to take a look at the documentary Roots & Wings, a 30 minute film created by fourteen-year old filmmaker Angad Singh (now sixteen). 


The documentary addresses what it means to be an American in today’s diverse cultural landscape. The filmmaker, Angad Singh, recounts his personal journey as a Sikh American, and how his cultural and religious heritage has shaped him and how others see him. He emerges triumphant as a true American, beautifully grounded by his cultural roots. 


The film promotes discussion on diversity, religion, American values, and the consequences of bullying. No students will walk away untouched after seeing this movie made by one of their peers.


I have been teaching French for fifteen years.  A common theme in Language instruction is how to dispel stereotypes about the target Culture. We often forget to address how native speakers of the target Language view us as Americans. 


Roots & Wings provided me with the perfect vehicle for such a discussion. After hosting thirty-two French exchange students, I created a lesson plan focused on reflection and discussion that asked students to assess how the French view us but more importantly how we view ourselves. 


The focal point of the lesson was the film, Roots & Wings.  After viewing the film, many students reevaluated their beliefs about what it means to be a “typical” American.  They shared instances of bullying in their own lives, and they urged Angad to make more films promoting diversity.  In addition, students came to appreciate the qualities that make their own families unique and that further enrich the American fabric. 


 Your high school or middle school students will love Roots & Wings. Younger students will appreciate the basic message of the film as well.


The two to three-day lesson plan that I created for my French classroom can be easily adapted to a world history class or an anti-bullying / diversity appreciation program. 


The student response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many students have asked if they could borrow the DVD to show to their parents.  The fact that the filmmaker is a high school student gave the documentary even more credibility among teenagers, who are often wary of an adult agenda.


Today's youth face so many challenges. They worry about being different and fitting into the world around them. Student’s experience discrimination every day based on race, religion, looks and sexual orientation, perceived or real. 


Excellent programs designed to help students understand diversity are rare jewels indeed.  Roots & Wings is a beautiful film that will move students toward reflection, self-examination, and action.  I highly recommend incorporating it into your program of study. 


I would be happy to help in any way possible.




Shelby Steinhauer

French Teacher

Milton High School, GA




Student Comments

"Roots & Wings really opened my eyes to the other people out there. It made me think about how hard they have to work to make other people accept them, and treat them like 'normal' people.  I think your movie will help me think about how I think of other people who may look different, but are really not so different on the inside."


 "Your documentary really got me thinking about how I, myself, and others do not realize that discrimination is not just happening on a larger scale, like with war and genocide, but on a smaller scale with things like name-calling."


"I love how real the kids were [in the movie] and how relevant not only the questions, but the answers were to everyday life."


"I was not raised to judge by appearances, but your film has opened my eyes even more."


"It's extremely important that they’re to be more education in terms of culture and religion because much of our prejudices and stereotypes are a result of ignorance.  Teachers especially should be made aware, since they have so much influence on students."


 "Your documentary really helped open my eyes to how others treat who they believe are 'outsiders.'  I learned about Sikhs and about their religion and I will no longer feel unsafe around people like the Sikhs and I will not mistake them for terrorists."