Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director

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Suman Raghunathan, SAALT’s Executive Director, joined the organization in February 2014. As Executive Director, Suman coordinates SAALT’s overall efforts to amplify diverse South Asian voices advocating for progressive change in the US. This includes developing, together with SAALT staff and Board of Directors, a vision for the organization, working closely with SAALT’s stakeholders, and expanding the resources necessary to implement that vision. Suman is a passionate and seasoned immigrant rights advocate with extensive experience on the range of issues addressed by SAALT, deep connections to South Asian communities, and relationships with key partners in the racial justice and immigrant rights movements. She has also gained experience in leading non-profit organizations, having first served as Interim Executive Director and then as a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, one of SAALT’s close partners.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Suman has a keen understanding of the issues affecting South Asian and other immigrants in the United States. She has deep experience conceptualizing and coordinating multifaceted and multi-issue campaigns that span numerous proposals and stakeholders, and assembling the coalitions critical to advancing them. Through her work at organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Progressive States Network, and the New York Immigration Coalition, Suman has developed expertise on policy issues, directed immigrant leadership development programs, launched newcomer civic engagement campaigns, and implemented capacity-building and advocacy campaigns.  Suman has appeared on the PBS News Hour and Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC, and her Op-Eds have appeared in the Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee, and the Hill, among other publications.  Suman is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Civil Rights Award for SAALT’s work on hate violence from Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, and the recipient of the Open Society Foundation New Executives Fund award in 2014.

Prior to joining SAALT, Suman was an immigration policy consultant for organizations such as the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Demos, and United Neighborhood Houses of New York. She also served as Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships for Progressive States Network, where she coordinated the organization’s policy agenda across numerous issue areas and worked intensively with legislators from over 40 states.

Suman received her undergraduate degree in international relations from Brown University and has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in New York City.

To reach Suman, please e-mail her at suman@saalt.org.