Our nation is still reeling in the wake of the Presidential election. It’s been a challenging time for so many in our community, and indeed for America. Today we want you to hear us loud and clear: SAALT accepts the challenge.
We accept the challenge by expressing outrage when the President-Elect, elected officials, and individuals paint our community as a dangerous “other”. We’ve tracked over 200 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric against our community since November 2015. Over 25% of rhetoric came from President-Elect Trump himself. We’re not stopping. We will redouble our efforts to hold the President-Elect accountable when he takes office in January to ensure our community’s rights and voices are defended. We refuse to accept the politics of fear and division.
We accept the challenge by knowing we cannot do this alone. In 2016 through our We Build Community Program we’ve provided nearly $50,000 support to grassroots groups in the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations to build a strong field of South Asian groups ready to take their place in racial justice, immigrant rights, and civil liberties movements across the nation.
We accept the challenge by understanding our future South Asian leaders of tomorrow must be trained today. In 2016, through our Young Leaders Institute, we provided twelve undergraduates and young adults the opportunity to build leadership skills, connect with activists and mentors, and explore social change strategies around issues that affect the South Asian community. These young adults are more necessary than ever to lift up the voices of South Asians nationwide.
We accept the challenge by knowing the strength of numbers and the power of unity. April 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the first National South Asian Summit, our multi-day gathering in D.C. that allows South Asian American community organizations and leaders to strategize on how to unite and strengthen our communities and make our presence known in the halls of Congress. With our country so deeply divided, the 2017 Summit will be the most urgent and compelling gathering of South Asian voices yet.
We have big challenges ahead of us, and I know we are up to the task. We’re counting on you to stand with us as we take on this challenge. Together, we’ll make it clear our community is here to stay and that our voices must be heard.
We have a long road ahead of us, and we are steadfast in walking every step side-by-side with our community. Friend, we need your support to help us down that road. With you standing with us, we will keep fighting for our community and accepting the challenges that come our way.
Executive Director, SAALT