YLI Reflections: Shifting South Asian Spaces with Sahana

At this moment in the history of South Asians in the United States, we cannot afford to be complicit. We must mobilize in solidarity with other marginalized communities. The recent detainment of immigrant rights activist leader Ravi Ragbir demonstrates that those who stand up against injustice in our communities are the first to be targeted by this violent, xenophobic, racist administration. We can be reminded by Ravi’s release of the power of our communities, and the ways in which we can use our bodies, minds, and privilege to resist oppressive regimes like the Trump Administration.

At the Young Leaders Institute (YLI), I learned about the resilience of South Asian and Muslim communities. For over a century, Muslim and Sikh communities in the United States, as well as in South Asia, have been surveilled and targeted by Islamophobic and anti-Sikh institutions. South Asian feminist facilitators like Dr. Maha Hilal, Darakshan Raja, and Noor Mir reminded me of the importance of intersectional work that centers the community’s most marginalized groups and interrogates all systems of power.

Despite what misleading data on Asian & Pacific Islanders in the United States suggest, South Asians are an incredibly diverse group of people with a multitude of positionalities. South Asians need not be homogenous to stand, work, and fight in solidarity with one another. Rather, we must do the labor of listening and understanding each others’ unique experiences and histories in order to be a true community.

For my YLI project, I focused my energies on building South Asian spaces on my college campus, the Claremont Colleges, dedicated intersectional South Asian activism. Four years ago, there was no space on campus for South Asians to explore questions of identity and positionality in meaningful ways. Because of the tireless efforts of a single South Asian student, Jincy Varughese, a one-person committee called Desi Table was created just three years ago. Since then, SAMP, a mentorship program for South Asian first-years and transfers has launched, and the Committee for South Asian Voices (formerly Desi Table) has put on several events, now with 10 devoted members. Genealogies like this one inspired me to continue pushing this work forward for my YLI project.

This year, the Committee for South Asian Voices has put on events to explore queer South Asian stories, the caste system and the Indian state, NGOization and gender in India, the Rohingya refugee crisis, Indo-Caribbean histories, processing South Asians in media, diasporic histories, and interpersonal violence in South Asian communities. Alongside the department for Feminist Gender Sexuality Studies at Scripps College, Equality Labs, and several other campus groups and departments, Professor Piya Chatterjee and I were able to bring Dalit rights activist Cynthia Stephen to campus. Cynthia’s visit was an incredible intervention to push all of us to think more deeply about Brahmanical patriarchy, Dalit-Black solidarities, and the constant resistance of Dalit people. Cynthia’s visit was part of her Dalit History Month tour, coordinated in partnership with Thenmozhi Soundararajan of Equality Labs. For our final two workshops of the year, we partnered with South Asian Network (SAN), an organization committed to providing crucial services for South Asians in Southern California, and to creating community spaces.

Inspired by the work of Jahajee Sisters, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, Desis Rising Up & Moving, and so many others, we are following in deep traditions of South Asian activism in the United States. Whenever I feel lost or wonder why I do this work, histories of South Asian resistance remind me that I am right where I belong, within and alongside community.

To learn more about Equality Labs, click here.
To learn more about South Asian Network, click here.
To learn more about ASATA, click here.
To learn more about DRUM, click here.

***
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

YLI 2018-2019 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions | Young Leaders Institute 2018- 2019

What is SAALT?

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

SAALT is the only national, staffed South Asian organization that advocates around issues affecting South Asian communities through a social justice framework. SAALT’s strategies include advocating for just and equitable public policies at the national and local level; strengthening grassroots South Asian organizations as catalysts for community change; and informing and influencing the national dialogue on trends impacting our communities. To learn more about SAALT, please visit www.saalt.org.

What is the Young Leaders Institute?

SAALT’s Young Leaders Institute is a unique opportunity for 15–20 young leaders in the US to explore issues that affect South Asian American communities; engage in peer exchange; hone leadership skills; and learn strategies and approaches to social change. The 2017–2018 Institute will be the sixth time this annual leadership development program will be hosted by SAALT.

Who can apply for the Young Leaders Institute?

U.S. undergraduate students and other young adults 18–22 years of age interested in creating change among South Asian Americans on their campuses or in their communities. Priority consideration is given to young adults 18–22 years of age in the US. SAALT welcomes applications from young leaders who may not have access to undergraduate studies, as well as those who are enrolled in undergraduate programs. Applications of young adults who are older and/or in graduate school will be accepted and considered.

Why is the Young Leaders Institute important?

SAALT is committed to the leadership development and support of young adults as agents of progressive change among South Asians in the US. The Institute encourages participants to explore their current leadership qualities, challenge themselves to evolve their leadership skills, learn from fellow young leaders, and commit to advancing social justice in real ways on their campus and in their community.

What is the 2018–2019 theme?

The 2018-2019 Young Leaders Institute theme is “Community Defense.” Since our last election cycle, communities of color across the U.S. have experienced an increase in anti-immigrant and racial violence. Policies have been enacted that remove Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 300,000 individuals, including Nepal; end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program placing 800,000 young immigrants, including at least 23,000 Indian and Pakistani youth, in uncertain status; increased “silent raids” against immigrants; and ban immigration from several Muslim majority countries. The policies are fueled by as well as encourage violence against those most vulnerable to their impact, particularly South Asians.

As we enter the midterm election cycle, our communities are expected to experience a surge in anti-immigrant policies and hate violence. Those most vulnerable within the South Asian community include working class, undocumented, Muslim, Sikh, and caste oppressed groups. It is imperative to learn from our experiences of not just the past election cycle but the long standing history of racism and xenophobia in the U.S. We must create community defense systems through civic engagement that at the heart protect our community from harm and deportation from this country. It must anticipate needs as well as incorporate long term and short term offensive strategies.

The 2018-2019 cohort will identify strategies and craft projects to support those highly impacted at their academic institutions and/or local South Asian communities. We encourage projects that center and uplift undocumented, working class and poor, Muslim, Sikh, and caste oppressed groups. All projects should also incorporate a civic engagement and social media campaign component.

What is civic engagement?

The Institute theme folds in a critical civic engagement component. Civic engagement is defined for the current purposes by an interest and willingness by individuals, residents, and constituents to engage with decision-makers, stakeholders, and peers (appointed and elected, campus-based and external) as well as decision-making processes to make their voices, opinions, and priorities heard. Civic engagement is not limited to or predicated upon activities or efforts that involve voting or the voting process, or U.S. citizens (who are generally, apart from some exceptions, the only individuals who can vote in the U.S.). At its essence, civic engagement is defined as individuals who choose to organize themselves and others toward collective action to weigh in, engage, and voice their opinions on how to address pressing issues that need to be improved, replicated, or addressed in their community.

For the purposes of campus-based projects around addressing and building community defense systems in South Asian and campus communities, civic engagement can involve a variety of actions. Please note, the following are examples only. Applicants are encouraged to submit their own innovative and creative project ideas, including but not limited to projects that promote civic engagement through art!

  • Organizing students to partner with local community-based organizations on problematic local, state, or national policies criminalizing immigrants and people who are undocumented.
  • Building coalition with student organizations of color to establish an Equity Advisor position in student government that works with the administration to create and implement equitable policies and practices on campus.
  • Raising concerns with the campus administration and shifting institutional practices and campus police compliance with policies that disproportionately target immigrants and people who are undocumented.
  • Train student organizations to support immigrant and undocumented peers in crisis and build campus coalitions to support institutional culture change.
  • Organizing a speak-out for students to voice how they see anti-immigrant and xenophobic practices & sentiment manifest on their campuses and in the actions of administrators.
  • Organizing letter-writing or postcard campaigns in support of incarcerated immigrants, particularly those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • Hosting forums/ town halls for campus community members to share their experiences of academic institution policies that are anti-immigrant and discuss how to advocate for change.
  • Advocate for and establish a support center for immigrant and undocumented students.
  • Supporting local organizing efforts to institute legislation that advances immigrant justice such as hate-free zones, anti-racist training for law enforcement, and prohibitions on racial profiling. A strong example from within our NCSO is DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) supporting the creation of Hate Free Zones, building relationships between individuals, organizations, and businesses to “defend communities from workplace raids, deportations, mass criminalization, violence, and systemic violation of [their] rights and dignity.”
  • Create a campus wide artistic display that addresses an anti-immigrant policy specific to your institution.

Note: Competitive applications will reflect detailed project proposals that include identifying campus or community groups that work with South Asian and/or other marginalized immigrant populations and develop a strategy for a civic engagement project in collaboration with that group.

How does the Institute work?

The Young Leaders Institute requires full participation in the following commitments:

  • On-site 3-day intensive training in the Washington, DC metro area on July 25–27, 2018
  • Creation of a project addressing community defense through civic engagement on your campus or in your community that meet specific education/awareness and social change objectives
  • Completion of campus or community projects by April 30, 2019
  • Monthly group report-back, peer exchange, and support calls (August–November; February–April)
  • Completion of written report-back, program evaluation, and additional requested materials

What is your graduation policy?

Participants must be able to commit to and fulfill all above requirements in order to graduate from the Institute. Participants who complete all requirements will be considered 2018–2019 Young Leaders Institute Fellows and have the opportunity to further engage with SAALT’s work.

SAALT recognizes that many young leaders have work, family, and other important obligations that may be connected to income, health, and so forth. SAALT is committed to working with each young leader accepted into the program to support their fulfillment of commitments or to work together on alternatives in the event of extenuating circumstances.

Why do I want to be a 2018–2019 Young Leaders Institute Fellow?

Participants will develop leadership skills; understand key issues affecting South Asian American communities in a social change context; and connect their campus and community with South Asian organizations and leaders. A few examples of the work of fellows after graduating from the Institute:

  • Served as an AmeriCorps Public Allies program at the Florida Immigrant Coalition
  • Served as a summer intern at SAALT and various South Asian organizations
  • Organized campus workers to fight for living wages
  • Organized a multi-lingual health resource fair for  immigrant community members
  • Hosted an arts showcase uplifting immigrant narratives
  • Completed an anthology highlighting the experiences of queer Desis in the US

How does the Institute support diversity?

The 2018 Institute encourages applicants diverse in ethnicity, country of origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and religion.

How much does this cost? What does SAALT provide?

SAALT will provide the following to accepted candidates:

  • Round trip air, train, or bus fare to the July 25-27 on-site training. Mode of transportation will depend on your departure point and will be chosen by SAALT (round-trip fare is restricted to traveling from a city to DC and returning to the same city).
  • Hotel accommodation (shared room) for the nights of July 25, 26, and 27
  • On-site training from July 25-27
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on July 25 and 26; breakfast and lunch on July 27
  • Monthly group calls for report backs, peer exchange, and support
  • All other expenses, such as public transportation and taxi fares, additional meals or activities, and extended hotel stay are the participant’s responsibility

How do I apply? What is the application deadline?

Interested applicants should review information about SAALT, the Institute, and complete an application.

All applications should:

  • Record responses directly into the Word document application
  • Be submitted as one PDF document
  • Saved as “Name of Applicant_2018YLIApplication”

Submit completed applications to Almas Haider at almas@saalt.org by May 29th, 2018.

Only final candidates will be contacted directly. If you have any questions regarding YLI or your application before May 25th, 2018, contact almas@saalt.org or 301.270.1855.

What does a competitive application look like?

A competitive application will demonstrate:

  • An interest in effecting progressive change on a college campus or community.
  • Reflect a commitment to building community defense systems through civic engagement in the South Asian American and ally community.
  • Include ideas about realistic, scaled projects to enact this change and have the initiative, commitment, and resourcefulness to implement those ideas.
  • Include a social media campaign and/or component in their project plan.
  • A willingness to share experiences and learning from trainers and peers.
  • Seek to connect their projects with a member organization of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO) wherever possible. SAALT does realize that because capacity and South Asian populations vary greatly across the country, an NCSO organization may not be in or near an applicant’s city of residence and will take this into account.

Download the 2018 YLI Application here.

YLI Reflections: Combating Islamophobia with Rupa Palanki

My high school history teacher, quoting Mark Twain, often said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” For centuries in the United States, minority groups, ranging from Eastern European immigrants to Japanese Americans, have faced discrimination from more established populations due to a sense of “otherness” that they are invariably perceived to disseminate. This has resulted in dark chapters of history in a nation that prides itself as “the home of the free and the brave.” The recent rise in hatred against Muslims is just another iteration of the same story.

With the 9/11 attacks happening only three years after I was born, life, as I know it, has included a constant undercurrent of backlash in the United States against Muslims. At present, the current administration continues to relentlessly engage in anti-Muslim rhetoric and news headlines continue to blame Islam for select acts of violence perpetuating false, negative perceptions of the Muslim community. At school and in my city, I have personally witnessed how lack of a nuanced understanding breeds bigotry and discrimination. Many people in my hometown in Alabama have never left the state or interacted with Muslims before, and their bias towards Muslims stems from stereotypes that have been perpetrated over generations. And often at college, I am the first South Asian American that my peers have conversed with for an extended period of time, leading them to ask questions about my culture, religion, and language or mistakenly identifying me as Muslim instead of Hindu.

Because of this personal exposure to islamophobia, I developed a desire to better understand the phenomenon and to equip myself to combat it within my community. This, in part, was what motivated me to apply for SAALT’s Young Leaders’ Institute last summer. During the training in Washington D.C., I developed the organizational and leadership tools necessary to carry out effective change. Speakers like Noor Mir and Deepa Iyer shared fascinating insights on different aspects of islamophobia that reinforced the importance of understanding it in the context of institutionalized racism like anti-blackness and colonialism, as well as provided meaningful insights on the resilience and solidarity necessary to work in the social justice field. I appreciated the opportunity to meet activists and student leaders from other colleges and the opportunity to discuss the specificity of our experiences as South Asian Americans. I had never really had the opportunity to explore my identity as a South Asian American so extensively before.

This propelled me to begin to shape my own project that I carried out over the course of the academic year to work against biases within my college community. This spring, I worked in conjunction with other South Asia Society members at the University of Pennsylvania to plan a Symposium for Awareness of South Asian Issues (SASAI), a week-long intercollegiate conference to create awareness for social justice issues and to encourage activism in its many facets. The week’s events included a keynote address from 2014 Miss America Nina Davuluri, a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization fighting malnutrition in South Asia, and a series of discussions covering social issues like islamophobia. With a mix of both fun cultural programming and deep political conversations, SASAI encouraged participation not only from a diverse range of South Asians but throughout the minority community at Penn. By the end of the week, we found it inspiring to see that our efforts to make our campus a more inclusive space for all were rewarded.

Photos from the awareness symposium Rupa helped organize in the University of Pennsylvania.

As the incredibly passionate, intelligent, and socially conscious individuals that made up my Young Leaders’ Institute cohort carry out their projects over the course of this year, I hope to see visible change within the communities that they target, just as I hope that my actions have spurred. However, our work cannot be done alone. As President Obama notably wrote in his final message to the American people as Commander in Chief, “America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’” Together, we must push forward the fight against islamophobia, for this is not a matter of one culture or religion or language or social class; it is a struggle for achieving equality for all people.

***

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

 

 

 

This Week in Hate: hate continues to rise, our communities continue to suffer

 

Earlier this year, SAALT released our post-election analysis of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric called “Communities on Fire.” During the first year following the 2016 presidential election (November 7, 2016 to November 7, 2017)—we documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities, an over 45% increase from our previous analysis in just one year. An astounding eighty-two percent of incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. Additionally, One out of every five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump administration policy (“Muslim Ban”), or Trump campaign slogn (“Make America Great Again”) while committing the attack.

Since November 7, 2017, which marked one year since the presidential election, SAALT has documented 40 additional incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric. Three of the eight instances of xenophobic political rhetoric were anti-Muslim videos retweeted by President Trump in a single day.[1]

Fourteen of the thirty-two incidents of hate violence were verbal/written assaults, followed by twelve incidents of property damage, and six physical assaults. The cumulative post-election total is shown in Figure 1 below compared to the year leading up to the presidential election.

Emerging Trends

Property Damage

On December 1, 2017, Bernardino Bolatete was arrested for planning to “shoot up” the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.[2] He told an undercover detective, “I just want to give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine, you know? They are the ones who are always doing these shootings, the killings.” Following this event, four more mosques were vandalized around the country. Mosques in Upper Darby, PA[3]; Clovis, NM[4], and Queens, NY[5] were vandalized with “Trump”, “Terr-” “911” and other anti-muslim phrases.

In tune with the disturbing trend of Mosque vandalism, Tahnee Gonzales and Elizabeth Dauenhauer trespassed the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, Arizona. While on Facebook lives, the women stole the masjid’s educational material and called Muslims “devil-worshippers” who are destroying “America.” The women also encouraged their children to participate in anti-Muslim behavior.

Continued Targeting of Sikh Americans

Twenty-two percent of hate incidents we documented in “Communites on Fire” targeted men who identify or are perceived as South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, or Arab. Perpetrators of hate crimes often use the religious presentation of turban-wearing Sikh men to target them. Our report found over seven incidents of hate violence aimed directly against Sikhs Americans, which reflected a significant disconnect between SAALT’s community-reported and publicly-sourced data and data reported to the FBI.

In January 2018, at least three incidents of hate violence targeted Sikh men. In Bellevue, Washington, an unknown perpetrator took a hammer from his bag and swung it against the head of Swarn Singh, causing his head to bleed.[6] At the AM/PM convenience store in Federal Way, Washington, a man threatened to kill a Sikh employee and told him to “go back where you came from.”[7] Later in the month, a Sikh Uber driver, Gurjeet Singh, picked up a couple in Moline, Illinois.[8] The male suspect put a gun to Singh’s head saying that he hated “turban people.”

Additionally, on March 3, 2018 Chad Horsely plowed his pickup truck into Best Stop Convenience Store because he thought the store owners were Muslim; they were Sikh Americans.[9]  On February 20, 2018, a Sikh gas station owner was called a “terrorist” and told that he should “go back to his own country.” When the victim tried to take photos of the vehicle license plate, Steven Laverty exited the vehicle and tried to punch the victim and took his phone.[10] On February 1, 2018, Pit Stop Gas Station in Kentucky, owned by a Sikh American, was found vandalized with swastikas, “white power,” “leave,” and “f**k you,” spray-painted on its exterior.[11]

While we recognize that many instances of hate violence or xenophobic rhetoric against our communities go unreported, we at SAALT remain committed in refusing to normalize hate. Download our report “Communites on Fire”, to read more about our recommendations on how to combat hate violence and address the underlying systems and structures that produce this violence.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-britain-first-retweet-muslim-migrants-jayda-fransen-deputy-leader-a8082001.html

[2] https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/jacksonville-officers-man-planned-mass-shooting-at-islamic-center/658434170

[3] http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/11/30/upper-darby-anti-muslim-signs/

[4] http://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico-mosque-vandalized-by-a-real-christain/1009337281

[5] http://www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/vandal-scrawls-graffiti-at-mosque-site/article_bd1eaf88-a7d6-5006-9244-a1175c21b3fe.html

[6] http://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/sikh-community-facing-rise-in-hate-crimes-seeks-help-from-cities/281-509640203

[7] http://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/sikh-community-facing-rise-in-hate-crimes-seeks-help-from-cities/281-509640203

[8] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/03/07/an-ex-deputy-rammed-a-truck-into-a-store-because-he-thought-the-owners-were-muslim-police-say/?utm_term=.96c4bbd6f212

[9] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/03/07/an-ex-deputy-rammed-a-truck-into-a-store-because-he-thought-the-owners-were-muslim-police-say/?utm_term=.96c4bbd6f212

[10] http://www.newsindiatimes.com/sikh-gas-station-owner-in-new-jersey-becomes-victim-of-hate-crime

[11] http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/indian-american-owned-gas-station-in-kentucky-vandalized-with-racist/article_ce755584-0b0b-11e8-949b-d30fdeef3b05.html

11th Annual NCSO Convening & Advocacy Day

Join us this May for a powerful convergence of NCSO leaders in Washington, D.C.!

The National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO) Convening will gather over 100 representatives from our NCSO partner organizations on May 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Not only will it provide the opportunity to build NCSO strength through strategy sharing and problem-solving, but we will work collectively to expand knowledge on policies and legislation targeting our communities. We have also organized space to enhance our skills related to advocacy as well as make for regional and issue based caucuses.

On May 10, 2018 we will head to Capitol Hill for Advocacy Day. NCSO members will connect with government officials and Members of Congress. You will have multiple opportunities to engage with policy makers, from a morning Congressional Briefing to one-on-one meetings with Congressional offices in the afternoon.

To learn more about the 2018 NCSO Convening and Advocacy Day, please review our FAQ . Then, register to attend the Annual NCSO Convening and Advocacy Day where you can connect in person with NCSO members and be a part of building our collective power!

FAQs: NCSO Convening & Advocacy Day 2018

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are the events accessible by public transportation?

The NCSO Convening will take place at the Georgetown Conference Center. Advocacy Day will take place on Capitol Hill, and SAALT will provide a shuttle for all NCSO Convening participants to attend Advocacy Day.

What time are check-in and check-out at the Georgetown Conference Center?

Check-in time to the Center is 4:00pm. Check-out time is 11:00am.

Are the events accessible for those with physical disabilities?

All event venues are accessible. Please contact almas@saalt.org with specific questions or requests regarding physical accessibility.

What is the dress code?

May 9th | NCSO Convening: casual/business casual

May 10th | Advocacy Day: business/professional attire

 Will there be interpreters available for the events?

All events will be offered in English. Registrants may request an interpreter during the online registration process. For additional in-language requests, please reach out to almas@saalt.org no later than March 15, 2018.

 How will I get to the events?

The NCSO Convening will take place at the Georgetown Conference Center. Advocacy Day will take place on Capitol Hill, and SAALT will provide a shuttle for all NCSO Convening participants to attend Advocacy Day. Outside of this, participants are responsible for their public transportation, taxi, and other travel costs while attending events.

Register here.

DEFUND HATE. CALL CONGRESS NOW!

Call your Members of Congress to Oppose Government Spending that Expands Deportation & Mass Incarceration of Immigrants.

Don’t let your taxpayer dollars fund President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Join the AAPI Immigrant Rights Organizing Table and call your Members of Congress to Defund Hate & Keep Immigrant Families Together. Script below.

This week, Congressional leadership is finalizing negotiations on the government spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018. Congress has consistently failed to provide a solution for DACA recipients and undocumented immigrant youth, and now the White House and Congressional Republicans want billions of dollars in increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security—dollars that will fuel ICE and border patrol’s detention and deportation machine and further militarize the border.

Specifically, the White House budget asks for $21.5 billion for ICE and border patrol—which is $2.9 billion more than last year. The White House’s anti-immigrant budget wish list for 2018 includes $2.7 billion to build a wall and other border infrastructure; funding for 1,000 new ICE agents and 500 new Border Patrol agents to arrest and deport immigrant family members; and funding for 51,379 jail beds to detain immigrants in privately-run prisons rife with mismanagement and abuse.

Dial 202-224-3121 now using the script below:

Sample Script:

“Hello, I am your constituent from [CITY/TOWN] and I strongly urge you to call for cuts to ICE and border patrol’s budgets. Increased funding for this mass deportation force will increase detention and deportation of immigrants, tearing families apart and further terrorizing and destabilizing immigrant communities. Increased funding for ICE and border patrol is also more money to deport Dreamers and TPS recipients who Congress has failed to protect. Tell Congressional leadership to cut funding for detention beds, ICE and border patrolagents, and say no to the wall. Instead pass a clean DREAM Act.”

In solidarity & partnership,
SAALT

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

ALMAS HAIDER, COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER

Almas comes to SAALT as an experienced grassroots organizer and capacity builder. Her diverse portfolio includes tenures with collectives, non-profits, and the federal government, namely, the South Asian Network (SAN), the U.S. Department of State in their South and Central Asia Bureau, Satrang (Los Angeles, CA) and Khush D.C. (Washington, D.C.) Additionally, she has also served on the steering committee of API Equality-LA and the board of National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). Almas currently serves as the Racial Justice and Equity Committee Chair for NQAPIA.

As SAALT’s Community Partnerships Manager, Almas will work to expand SAALT’s work at the regional level with our community partners in the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), particularly around local advocacy and organizing efforts.  She can be reached at almas@saalt.org

MAHNOOR HUSSAIN, POLICY ASSOCIATE

Mahnoor joins SAALT as our first Policy Associate. Prior to this role, Mahnoor worked as a Programs Associate at APIAVote, where she organized AAPI youth in civic engagement efforts on campuses across the country. She also interned at the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project and the Global Knowledge Initiative, and explored the influence of the South Asian diaspora on the 2016 elections in her undergraduate thesis.

As SAALT’s Policy Associate, Mahnoor will support the development and implementation of SAALT’s legislative, administrative, and public policy agenda and activities. Mahnoor can be reached at mahnoor@saalt.org