On Wednesday, May 20th Michelle Obama will roll out “the vision of service for the Administration for the summer” in Washington DC. SAALT’s Executive Director, Deepa Iyer, will be in the audience to hear about the summer of service and learn how organizations like SAALT and the South Asian community as a whole can get involved. Are you inspired by Michelle’s message of service? How are you getting involved and engaged this summer?
On May 1st, people from communities all over the country commemorated International Workers’ Day to call for fair and equitable reform to the immigration system. There were rallies in many major cities, including Washington DC. I went down to the rally with Poonam, our intern. Being at the march was an amazing experience. Walking down 14th Street, where mounted police shut down one direction of traffic to accommodate the crowd, surrounded by community members and advocates, was a singular experience. I didn’t participate in the immigration reform rallies in 2006 and 2007 so this was my first time getting the May Day experience. The mood was overwhelmingly positive with the speakers at Lafayette Park acknowledging the difficulties that community members encounter as part of the broken immigration system but ultimately focusing on how communities-of-color can work together to push for reform. I used one of our nifty new Flips to capture some of the sights and sounds of the rally, below you can check out a quick video featuring some inspiring words from Rev. Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ:
Home to the fifth largest South Asian population in the country according to the 2000 Census, the Washington, DC area is a hotbed of desi culture. We’ve got gurudwaras, mosques, temples and desi groceries galore. SAALT is collaborating with the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) to learn more about South Asians who live and work in the District through the South Asian Community Empowerment Project and we are looking for volunteers!
So what do volunteers do, you ask?
It’s simple, volunteers conduct street-side surveys of South Asians in Washington, DC. You’ll be collecting information that simply isn’t out there right now about the community here in DC and learning about your fellow District natives. All volunteers will be trained in surveying and community work. Want to volunteer? email Maha Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org and we hope to see you out there!
Also, we’re going to be writing more about this as it gets closer but the National South Asian Summit is happening, right here in DC, from April 24-26. This is an exciting opportunity for students, professionals, activists (really, everyone!) to make connections and strategize around empowering the South Asian community. More details to come, but we’re looking at a lot of exciting speakers and guests, so register today!
The SAALT Inauguration Special Reception was a great success this Inauguration Weekend in Washington, DC. More than 200 people gathered at K&L Gates, a stones throw from the White House, to mingle and connect with one another, as well as bid on silent auction items and enjoy food and drink. Check out pictures from the event at the SAALT Flickr here.
See the whole album at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saalt/sets/72157612864880146/