Young Leaders Institute 2018-2019

Meet the 2018-2019 YLI cohort!
“Building Community Defense”

The 2018-2019 YLI theme was Community Defense, and projects will take on anti-immigrant policies and hate violence. Shared below are project descriptions from our YLI’ers.

Apoorva Handigol: My project will stem from my senior thesis research on how antiblackness and Black-Brown solidarity have manifested over generations of South Asian Americans in Chicago. I will start with organizing a collaborative event at my school focusing on narratives of pain and love among South Asian and Black Americans. After this, I will take the project to my community in the Bay Area and reframe this community need as one of support for a group of people who has gone through much the same as we have, plus other injustices we have the privilege to forget. I will translate what I learned from the event on campus and my research into addressing my South Asian community’s antiblackness, lack of awareness of our 150+ years of Black solidarity, and need to strengthen our community defense.

 

Farishtay Yamin: My proposal centers around creating a rapid response system to ICE activity and hate crimes using an app. I would like to use the existing member base and network present in Athens, GA to duplicate the model in Nashville, TN.

 

 

Hiba Ahmad: My project is to create a financial literacy program for prison inmates in aims to reduce recidivism rates around the United States, which is mainly caused by lack of attainable financial education and resources. US prisons
disproportionately target people of color, so the successful
implementation of this program will hopefully protect our communities of color against further unjust detainment, and arm them with the education necessary to combat the difficulty of reentering the workforce.

Mahi Senthikumar: I will explore the intersections of rights and religion through a series of public talks and YouTube videos. By creating interfaith forums to discuss
religion alongside activism, I hope to break down social barriers within our community and uncover shared values which compel us to stand together for justice.

 

 

Meghal Sheth: For my project I will be working to co-program with other cultural and identity- based groups on Washington University in St. Louis’ campus to create a “Justice Through Freedom” Week. The week will include a vigil, call-in, panel discussion on community defense, and a gala with other various student organizations.

 

Myra Khushbakht: For my project, I plan to create an open discussion town hall event at Howard in the coming academic year. I hope to initiate a conversation about colorism within minorities on my campus.

 

 

Naisa Rahman: My community defense project will focus on improving my university’s reporting and response system for bias, discrimination, and harassment. My goal is for our institution to respond timely to students and to better support them during any crises.

 

 

Sarah Rozario: Sarah hopes to create a video composed of her campus community’s immigrant and undocumented voices addressing anti-immigration policies. The project will provide a space for students to voice their concerns as well as act as a display of support.

 

 

Vrinda Trivedi: Coming from Ohio, I think suburban and rural locations are sorely overlooked in regards to being seen as spaces conducive to community building. Therefore, I would like to find a way to connect LGBTQIA+ South Asians, through hosting a retreat similar to YLI, but on a smaller scale, and geared towards addressing the unique themes faced by LGBTQIA+ South Asians in suburban and rural spaces.

 

Yasmine Jafery: My project is creating an on campus club that provides a safe space for peers to talk to one another about difficult things they are going through. This club would provide struggling students a place to meet and learn from their peers that are fighting similar obstacles.

 

 

Neha Valmiki: Neha will have a session on her campus called Breaking Barriers, where will bring in speakers to talk about mental health in the South Asian community and the
necessity for civic engagement. The goal is to break the stigma of mental health and to break the idea that your vote doesn’t count. Her goal is it make sure each students knows that they have a voice and they are valid.

 

Rupkatha Banarjee: Summits and conferences often attract large audiences and transmit messages of support and awareness throughout the community. In lieu of student involvement and increased participation, I aim to organize a TEDx type conference with multiple speakers to explicate stories of immigrants who’ve experienced targeted racial violence.

 

Jaspreet Kaur: Brown Girl Joy [an IG platform] explores the intersections of beauty one brown girl [including gender non conforming + nonbinary person] at a time. We hope to reconstruct paradigms of beauty to be more inclusive and accepting for people of color.

 

 

Sana Hamed: I propose to start SEMS (Sharing Every Muslims’ Story), an initiative that would serve to unite Muslim organizations on campus through the common thread of storytelling. The project would include various ways to put a positive spotlight on who Muslims are in America and would include creating short narrative videos to be shared through social media, written features for an anthology, and even a showcase featuring Muslim creatives through which we could further engage the community.

 

 

For more information around YLI, follow SAALT on Twitter at @SAALTweets, or contact Almas Haider at almas@saalt.org

2020 CENSUS

The Constitution mandates a counting of all persons in the U.S every 10 years. This count is regardless of legality of stay. For the first time in United States history, the 2020 Census could include a question around citizenship. If allowed to pass, it would endanger immigrant communities, leaving them exposed to violence, and hate.

The Census informs the allocation of $800 billion in federal funds, guiding spending on infrastructure, education, healthcare, and public benefits. The inclusion of a citizenship question will red flags communities of color, and might lead to increased surveillance and policing of immigrants, specifically South Asians who already find themselves at the cross hairs of hate and violence.

We have until August 7th to submit comments to the federal government. Follow these three steps to submit a comment:

STEP 1:
Follow this link for a sample comment letter SAALT and Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) created you can use.

STEP 2:
Personalize your comment.

We need to show the diversity of voices in opposition to the citizenship question. You are encouraged to personalize your comment using the data we provided in our webinar. Some questions to consider in personalizing your comment:
  • How will an inaccurate count impact your local community and state?
  • Do you have specific programs or projects funded by the state or local government that are at risk of being under-funded?
  • How might this impact political representation in your communities?
  • How will your community demographic affect their response rate?
  • Many South Asian families live in mixed-status households, do they feel safe responding to a citizenship question?
STEP 3:

Submit your comment at: https://goo.gl/LL34xx

 2020 CENSUS RESOURCES
–          2020 Census Strategy Webinar
–          2020 Census Community Workshop Support Materials

 

The Fight Continues: No Muslim Ban Ever!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2018

Washington D.C– Over a year and three iterations at state-sponsored discrimination later, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled earlier today to uphold the Trump Administration’s divisive and damaging Muslim Ban. This is a troubling first in modern times for our nation: one that openly codifies inequality before the law.

In response, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, said: “Greenlighting persecution of communities due to their appearance or how they pray is unacceptable and un-American, and cannot be the law of our land. Today’s decision joins our nation’s past shameful decisions on Korematsu and Dred Scott by upholding discrimination. With this ruling, the highest court has turned its back on our communities who are already on the front-lines of state-sanctioned hate, violence and division.”

“As we see immigrants portrayed and treated as subhuman, hate violence at historic levels, and challenges to due process and core rights for all, we face a critical question as to who we are and what we stand for as a nation. We know hate violence targeting our communities will continue to rise nationwide, amplified by today’s decision. SAALT chooses to build a nation where families are not torn apart, where children are not detained in cages, where differences are not criminalized for political gain. Today, as the government chooses to separate families and places our communities in the cross hairs of hate, we vow to continue the fight for justice, dignity, and full inclusion. Our communities have a place in this nation regardless of today’s decision, and we will fight to protect them.”

 

Our elected and appointed officials should know we will continue to mobilize our communities, and will not stop till we have equality and justice for all.

SAALT

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.

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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 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.

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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

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

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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.

There’s no time to lose. Force Congress to protect DREAMers now!

Dear Friend,

Despite a temporary government shut down, Congress still hasn’t passed legislation to protect 800,000 DREAMers who are at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever known. The next vote on their futures is this Thursday, February 8.

The Trump administration has cynically tied any ‘deal’ to protect DREAMers directly with militarizing our southern border, ending the diversity visa lottery, and making massive cuts to family-based immigration. This ‘deal’ is a non-starter.

Rather than passing already-introduced, bipartisan legislation called the DREAM Act [S. 1615/H.R. 3440], which would protect immigrant youth without tearing apart families and building a border wall, Congress keeps introducing new legislation that insists upon including harm in its approach and impact. The latest, the USA Act, provides a pathway to citizenship for millions of people who came to the U.S. before age 18. Yet it also includes harmful provisions to increase deportations and further militarize our borders.

Now is the time to pass the DREAM Act once and for all.

Thousands of DREAMers, including SAALT allies Chirayu Patel and Ruchir, have traveled to Washington, D.C. since President Trump heartlessly terminated DACA in September 2017 without legislation to undo the harm caused by ending this crucial program. Since last fall, DREAMers have courageously shared their stories and have declared they DO NOT support any ‘deal’ that uses them as political bargaining chips while putting other immigrants in harm’s way. Despite misguided efforts to pit immigrants against each other, an overwhelming majority of Americans support legislation that protects DREAMers with a path to citizenship that does not increase border enforcement.
Continuing to shirk its responsibility to reflect the public’s needs and priorities, Congress keeps kicking the can down the road as hundreds of thousands of immigrants’ lives continue to hang in the balance, including over 23,000 Indian and Pakistani DREAMers. Since September, over 120 DREAMers lose their status every day, facing the threat of deportation.

Congress must do its job and protect DREAMers on February 8!

Your voice matters! Here’s what you can do today to force Congress to protect DREAMers:

  1. Dial 1-888-778-6856 and wait for the “Welcome” message
  2. Enter your zip code
  3. Connect to your Member of Congress and force them to protect DREAMers now by passing S. 1615/H.R. 3440!

See below for a sample script!

Hi, my name is ____________ and I live in ___________ (city in district). I’m calling to urge Representative/Senator ____________ to support legislation on February 8 that protects DREAMers without provisions to increase deportations or militarize our borders. DREAMers are not bargaining chips. Over 120 DREAMers lose their DACA status every day and thousands of families will be at risk of being torn apart unless Congress does its job on February 8 to protect DREAMers without harming immigrant communities in the process. The best legislative solution is the existing DREAM Act and I urge you support that bill. Thank you for your time.  

Also, today, February 7, join hundreds of progressive allies in Washington D.C. for the National Day of Action to demand a DREAM Act.

DAY OF ACTION DETAILS

What: National Day of Action for the Dream Act
When: Wednesday, Feb. 7th starting at 12:00pm EST
Where: Starting at Trump International Hotel, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004, and marching to the halls of Congress.
Who: Immigrant youth, United We Dream, Center for Popular Democracy, SEIU, The Women’s March, FIRM/Center for Community Change, Good Jobs Nation, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Church World Service and more!

More infohttps://www.facebook.com/events/877004879138672/

It’s time for our leaders to put politics aside and do their jobs and the will of the people. Congress must protect immigrant communities. Make your voice heard. There’s no time to lose.

In partnership,
The SAALT Team

 

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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.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

Report | Communities on Fire: Confronting Hate Violence and Xenophobic Political Rhetoric

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities are the target of increasing levels of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric in the United States, with record attacks since the election of President Trump in November, 2016, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said in a report released today. The uptick in anti-Muslim attacks runs parallel to the surge in this administration’s anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric.

The report, Communities on Fire,” documents hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities from Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017. SAALT documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the United States, of which an astounding 82% were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. The 302 incidents are a more than 45% increase from the year leading up to the 2016 election cycle, levels not seen since the year after September 11.

SAALT’s report draws a direct line between this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda and increasing attacks, revealing that of the 213 incidents of hate violence documented, one in five perpetrators invoked President Trump’s name, his administration’s policies, or his campaign slogans during attacks.

“Our nation prides itself on the freedom for people of all religious traditions to practice their faith without fear or intimidation,” said Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “However, through its policies and rhetoric, this administration’s incessant demonization of Islam has created an environment of hate and fear-mongering for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. Deadly shootings, torched mosques, vandalized homes and businesses, and young people harassed at school have animated an acutely violent post-election year. This administration must break eye contact with white supremacy if our nation is to live up to its highest ideals of religious freedom.”

The report also underlines the way intersectionality informs hate – both the identities of victims targeted and the systems that criminalize our communities. Women who identify or are perceived as South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, or Arab were the targets of attack in 28% of the 213 documented hate incidents post-election. Women who wear hijab or head scarves are particularly vulnerable, accounting for 63% of the documented hate incidents targeting women. The report discusses the intersection of immigration, racial profiling and surveillance, and criminal justice policies that compound against our communities.

“The growth of white supremacist hate groups and mounting attacks on our communities are proof positive that this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda is not making America great, it’s making Americans afraid,” Raghunathan said. “The daily decay of our democracy can only be repaired by dignity and full inclusion for all Americans, regardless of faith, race, or national origin. SAALT and our allies are going to go the distance to see this demand realized.”

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org