Cultivate skills. Connect with community. Create change.
“YLI is a place where I found community amongst like-minded South Asians Americans who are passionate about justice.” –Jasveen, The New School, 2016 YLI Fellow
“I felt empowered to create change. New ideas were forming in my mind on how to involve my campus in the revolution.” –Priya, University of Florida, 2015 YLI Fellow
SAALT’s Young Leaders Institute (YLI) is an opportunity for undergraduate students and other young adults in the U.S. to build leadership skills, connect with activists and mentors, and explore social change strategies around issues that affect South Asian and immigrant communities in the U.S. The Institute is designed to cultivate skills to deepen knowledge and awareness, strengthen and nurture relationships with diverse communities, and empower young leaders to be agents of change.
The 2017-2018 Young Leaders Institute theme is “Combating Islamophobia.” Islamophobia or the systemic hostility and discrimination enacted toward those who are or are perceived to be Muslim is a complicated and fraught issue in the South Asian American community. Combating Islamophobia requires work within and outside our communities to ensure that we address our own biases and internalized oppression while also fighting systems and policies that diminish, criminalize, and discriminate against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. As we continue to head into uncertain and even dangerous times ahead, it is more important than ever that the South Asian American community effectively combats Islamophobia in all its forms. The 2017-2018 YLI cohort will work to understand the perspectives of individuals most impacted by Islamophobia, the systemic nature of Islamophobia and how it manifests in policies at all levels including college campuses, and develop ways to challenge and disrupt Islamophobia in our families and communities.