Fremont, USA

I grew up in a city called Fremont. It was the Bay Area’s first model suburb, created in 1956 by gluing together the towns of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs. My family moved to Fremont in 1961 to a duplex on the edge of old town Centerville. At that time there were still rural areas between the five towns, mostly planted with walnuts and cauliflower. My mother would occasionally take me walking to Haller’s pharmacy around the corner, or if I were really lucky, to the Cloverdale Creamery for ice cream. Two years later we moved to a newly-built ranch house in the same subdivision: closer to the freeway for Dad’s commute, but farther from old town. Time passed, I upgraded from Mattos Elementary to Centerville Jr High to Washington High. By the time I graduated and moved to Berkeley for college, all the open space between Centerville and Irvington was gone, covered with houses.

In the years since I left, Fremont has undergone a remarkable social transformation. The ethnic and religious demographics have completely changed: Fremont is now home to the largest Afghan community in the United States, and the second-largest Sikh community. This is why I am eager to see the new documentary Fremont, U.S.A — A City’s Encounter with Religious Diversity, produced by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. I will write about the film in a future post.

Here is what the East Bay Express has to say about “Fremont, USA”.

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