My name is Jasveen and I am a college student living in America’s post-election reality. I am also a 2016-2017 Fellow of SAALT’s Young Leaders Institute (YLI).
In acknowledgment of Giving Tuesday, which follows the Thanksgiving Holiday each year, I want you to know how grateful I am that generous donors support SAALT and this amazing program.
With intolerance and even violence targeting our communities and surging nationwide, it is becoming difficult to find safe havens anywhere. Going to school, traveling, practicing my faith, even walking the street in broad daylight now present unmistakable risks to my life.
YLI became an important outlet for me and eleven other young South Asian American Fellows who are part of this year’s cohort. It gave us an opportunity to connect with activists and mentors, and explore equality and immigrant justice strategies to implement on behalf of the South Asian community. It has also become a place where I found community amongst like-minded South Asians Americans who are passionate about justice.
I also wanted you to know that until recently YLI was funded in significant part by sponsorship money from Southwest Airlines. This year, SAALT made the right choice to end its relationship with Southwest because of multiple incidents of racial profiling by its employees, including against a Muslim university student in California.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of my YLI cohort, we greatly admire and respect the bold stand that SAALT took in cutting ties with Southwest, because it meant returning a $10,000 contribution. Taking a stand against large powerful corporations like Southwest showed me what a dedicated organization SAALT is and made me prouder to be in YLI.
So today, on Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to generosity and charity, I’m asking you to please take the walk towards justice with SAALT and YLI. Please support SAALT and make sure it has enough funds to replace the $10,000 it lost in ending its relationship with Southwest. It’s in your hands now to help make sure that SAALT and YLI can thrive for years to come, and more young adults can get the vital leadership training we need to take on the challenges of tomorrow.
Jasveen and the 2016-2017 YLI Cohort
P.S. More than ever, our community and our country need young leaders to create the change that we all want to see. Please stand with us today for a better tomorrow.