Daily Buzz 3.27.2009

1.) Hin­du Caste Sys­tem Plays Role in Some Indi­an Church­es

2.) Aish­warya Rai Bachchan = The New Face of Bar­bie (lit­er­al­ly)

3.) The Third Most Pow­er­ful Woman in the World: Indra Nooyi

4.) New Study: Chica­go Cab Dri­vers Income a Pit­tance

5.) Young Indi­ans Say No Thanks to Amer­i­can Dream

JACL/OCA Leadership Conference: An Intern’s Eye View

Anoth­er post from our intern, Poon­am Patel, about the JACL/OCA Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence that took place in Wash­ing­ton, DC two weeks ago:

Ear­li­er this month, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate in the Japan­ese Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens League /Orga­ni­za­tion of Chi­nese Amer­i­cans Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence held in Wash­ing­ton DC. It was a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with oth­er Asian Amer­i­cans who had a vest­ed inter­est in learn­ing about polit­i­cal and civic issues fac­ing the Asian com­mu­ni­ty as well as devel­op­ing inno­v­a­tive ideas to address them.

Most of our time dur­ing the con­fer­ence was spent lis­ten­ing to a wide vari­ety of speak­ers that includ­ed WWII vet­er­ans, pro­fes­sors, com­mu­ni­ty advo­cates, Con­gres­sion­al mem­bers and staffers, as well as eth­nic and main­stream jour­nal­ists. Although each of the speak­ers came from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and fields of work, their mes­sage was har­mo­nious to some extent. Almost each mem­ber of every pan­el spoke about the impor­tance of our community’s mem­bers rep­re­sent­ing our community’s issues.

Deepa Iyer, SAALT’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor spoke on the pan­el titled “Biased Based Inci­dents in the Minor­i­ty Com­mu­ni­ties: His­to­ry to Today” dur­ing which she went through a brief his­to­ry of South Asians in the Unit­ed States fol­lowed by a dis­cus­sion relat­ed to bias inci­dents with­in the South Asian pop­u­la­tion, espe­cial­ly fol­low­ing the 9/11 back­lash.

In addi­tion to these pan­els, we were giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss with each oth­er devel­op­ment and out­reach ideas in an attempt to build clos­er ties with local OCA and JACL chap­ters as well as oth­er Asian Amer­i­can orga­ni­za­tions. Each evening we spent vis­it­ing a local land­mark such as the Smith­son­ian Muse­um and Nation­al Japan­ese Amer­i­can Memo­r­i­al to Patri­o­tism Dur­ing World War II after which we had din­ner at a local restau­rant.

The DC Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence was an ide­al forum to con­tin­ue build­ing coali­tions amongst orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with the Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty by fos­ter­ing rela­tion­ships between the lead­ers with­in them.

Advocacy Day in Trenton, NJ–South Asian Style!

Poon­am Patel, an intern at SAALT was in atten­dance for South Asian Advo­ca­cy Day in Tren­ton, NJ on March 16th. She shares her expe­ri­ence below. If you want to read more about the South Asian Advo­ca­cy Day, check out this great blog post by Son­ny Singh at the Sikh Coali­tion blog!

On Mon­day, March 16th, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to attend the first South Asian Advo­ca­cy Day in Tren­ton, New Jersey–an inspir­ing expe­ri­ence, to say the least. Grow­ing up in a tra­di­tion­al Indi­an fam­i­ly with the stig­ma that speak­ing to elect­ed offi­cials at any lev­el is fruit­less, it was reas­sur­ing to see leg­is­la­tors not only respon­sive to the issues dis­cussed but also will­ing to take action—research new means of solv­ing fun­da­men­tal prob­lems whether that involved sup­port­ing exist­ing leg­is­la­tion or intro­duc­ing new ideas.

One of the advo­cates talked about a project their orga­ni­za­tion had developed—grading pub­lic schools in a report card for­mat based on their cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy. The leg­is­la­tor that was pre­sent­ed with this idea not only agreed that it was a very effec­tive way of cre­at­ing aware­ness, but also asked for spe­cif­ic details so that the pro­gram could poten­tial­ly be imple­ment­ed in her dis­trict. While I was lis­ten­ing to this exchange take place, it became clear that inno­v­a­tive projects devel­oped by experts in their own fields com­bined with the gov­ern­ment resources can tru­ly have an affect on the com­mu­ni­ty at large.

Fur­ther­more, to see so many com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, advo­cates, and stu­dents col­lec­tive­ly dis­cuss the issues most rel­e­vant to the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty shed light to the fact that they cross bound­aries of all sorts–gender, age, and nation­al ori­gin to name a few.  Even though the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty is so diverse in a num­ber of ways, there are sev­er­al issues we can all relate to such as devel­op­ing com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform or cre­at­ing cul­tur­al com­pe­tent resources for com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. This is what was at the heart of Tren­ton Advo­ca­cy Day. It wasn’t about each indi­vid­ual advo­cat­ing some­thing unique, but a strong, col­lec­tive voice that caught the ears of state leg­is­la­tors.

Daily Buzz 3.16.09

1.) Indi­an – Amer­i­can Woman Elect­ed Inter­faith Con­fer­ence Pres­i­dent

2.) Pamela Roy’s Research with Young South Asian LGBTQ peo­ple: “India too will embrace gays.”.)

3.) For a Chef, a Com­fort Zone Among the Pots and Pans

4.) More Young Adults Are Seek­ing Part­ners of Same Eth­nic­i­ty

5.) TECH: List of Major South Asian Twit­ter Voic­es!