2013 ChangeMakers

Sukhjinder KaurSukhjinder Kaur Dhariwal is a Sikh American public school educator from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Following the mass shooting at the Oak Creek gurudwara on August 5, 2012, Ms. Kaur emerged as a prominent and powerful advocate for the Sikh American community.  In the aftermath of the tragedy, Sukhjinder used her connections as a teacher to serve as a critical cultural link between the U.S. Department of Justice and the community. Ms. Kaur is distinguished for her holistic approach to social justice, the intimate connection she forged with survivors and family members, and her continued and constructive efforts in building connections between the South Asian and non-South Asian communities in the Milwaukee area.  As part of a long-term strategy towards trust-building and healing, Sukhjinder is working with school districts in Wisconsin to ensure the teaching of Sikhism is incorporated into the curriculum and is building youth leadership through the Sikh Virsa Camping Retreat for Sikh teens.


Silk Road Rising Logo-35pt-croppedSilk Road Rising is a Chicago-based performance group that uses online videos and live theater to tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. Silk Road Rising was founded in 2002 as a creative response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 by Malik Gillani and Jamil Khoury), with the aim of countering the negative representation of Asian American, Middle Eastern American, and Muslim American peoples.  Mosque Alert, launched on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, is a first of its kind online civic engagement and new play development process that illuminates the challenges faced by Muslim Americans when trying to build houses of worship.


BupendraBupendra Ram is a student activist who organizes at the intersection of the undocumented, queer and Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities at California State University at Fullerton, where he is a full time student.  He has collaborated with South Asians for Justice and Satrang (a South Asian Queer Organization) to develop the API Undocumented Scholarship Fund.  Bupendra is committed to sharing his unique story and experiences to encourage eligible API individuals to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to be embraced for their contributions to building a more democratic, representative and inclusive America.


aparna sharmaAparna Sharma was one of the leaders of the South Asian Progressive Action Collective for over eleven years, and a long-time advocate for immigrant and women’s rights. She played a critical role in SAPAC’s civic engagement, art and activism, anti-communalism, and bridge building in Chicago and beyond.  Her affiliations include the Crown Family Philanthropies, Chicago Foundation for Women, Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning, Asian Giving Circle, Leadership Center for Asian Pacific Americans, Women and Girls’ Collective Action Network, and more. Dr. Sharma passed away on February 9, 2013.