On #GivingTuesday, Going Forward Means Giving Back

Hi Friend,

My name is Jasveen and I am a col­lege stu­dent liv­ing in Amer­i­ca’s post-elec­tion real­i­ty.  I am also a 2016–2017 Fel­low of SAALT’s Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI).

In acknowl­edg­ment of Giv­ing Tues­day, which fol­lows the Thanks­giv­ing Hol­i­day each year, I want you to know how grate­ful I am that gen­er­ous donors support SAALT and this amaz­ing pro­gram.

With intol­er­ance and even vio­lence tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and surg­ing nation­wide, it is becom­ing dif­fi­cult to find safe havens any­where. Going to school, trav­el­ing, prac­tic­ing my faith, even walk­ing the street in broad day­light now present unmis­tak­able risks to my life.

YLI became an impor­tant out­let for me and eleven oth­er young South Asian Amer­i­can Fel­lows who are part of this year’s cohort.  It gave us an oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with activists and men­tors, and explore equal­i­ty and immi­grant jus­tice strate­gies to imple­ment on behalf of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty.  It has also become a place where I found com­mu­ni­ty amongst like-mind­ed South Asians Amer­i­cans who are pas­sion­ate about jus­tice.

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The 2016–2017 YLI Cohort dur­ing a two-day lead­er­ship con­ven­ing in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land

I also want­ed you to know that until recent­ly YLI was fund­ed in sig­nif­i­cant part by spon­sor­ship mon­ey from South­west Air­lines.  This year, SAALT made the right choice to end its rela­tion­ship with South­west because of mul­ti­ple inci­dents of racial pro­fil­ing by its employ­ees, includ­ing against a Mus­lim uni­ver­si­ty stu­dent in Cal­i­for­nia.

Speak­ing on behalf of the rest of my YLI cohort, we great­ly admire and respect the bold stand that SAALT took in cutting ties with Southwest, because it meant return­ing a $10,000 con­tri­bu­tion. Tak­ing a stand against large pow­er­ful cor­po­ra­tions like South­west showed me what a ded­i­cat­ed orga­ni­za­tion SAALT is and made me proud­er to be in YLI.

So today, on Giv­ing Tues­day, a glob­al day ded­i­cat­ed to gen­eros­i­ty and char­i­ty, I’m ask­ing you to please take the walk towards jus­tice with SAALT and YLI. Please support SAALT and make sure it has enough funds to replace the $10,000 it lost in end­ing its rela­tion­ship with South­west. It’s in your hands now to help make sure that SAALT and YLI can thrive for years to come, and more young adults can get the vital lead­er­ship train­ing we need to take on the chal­lenges of tomor­row.

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Sin­cere­ly,

Jasveen and the 2016–2017 YLI Cohort

P.S. More than ever, our com­mu­ni­ty and our coun­try need young lead­ers to cre­ate the change that we all want to see.  Please stand with us today for a better tomorrow.

How To Prepare For An Uncertain Future

Dear Friend,

The weeks after the most divi­sive elec­tion in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry have left our com­mu­ni­ty shak­en.  Hun­dreds of inci­dents of hate vio­lence and intol­er­ance have been report­ed since Novem­ber 8, and SAALT has tracked more than 200 of these inci­dents even before Elec­tion Day.  From cam­pus­es to places of wor­ship, from air­plane cab­ins to the side­walks of Amer­i­ca, our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to be tar­gets. As we pre­pare for an uncer­tain future, we must look to our chil­dren to be the ambas­sadors of change.

We must support our young people to help solve these problems.

Young adults like  Nikhil Mandalaparthy, a stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go who came to Wash­ing­ton, DC as a part of SAALT’s Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI) 2016–2017 cohort.  As a YLI Fel­low, Nikhil joined 11 oth­er young peo­ple in a two-day con­ven­ing where men­tors and activists took them through work­shops and activ­i­ties to strength­en their lead­er­ship skills.  This year’s theme was Build­ing Immi­grant Justice,and pro­vid­ed the cohort with prac­ti­cal tools and action plans to orga­nize with­in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty while spot­light­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant rights.

Nikhil found this expe­ri­ence “eye-opening”, and believes “our efforts to have these important conversations in our communities can have a much greater impact than we could ever imagine.

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"The theme of this year's YLI was Immigrant Justice, and after hearing
about the different projects we were hoping to execute on our campuses,
I was honestly in awe." -Nikhil Mandalaparthy, 2016-2017 YLI Fellow

In order for SAALT to con­tin­ue skills build­ing and com­mu­ni­ty train­ing for these young lead­ers of tomor­row, we need your support - Today!  The need is made even more urgent by our recent deci­sion to return $10,000 in spon­sor­ship funds to South­west Air­lines, mon­ey that helped sup­port our YLI pro­gram.  South­west employ­ees have been racial­ly pro­fil­ing South Asian, Mus­lim, and Arab pas­sen­gers in the last year, includ­ing at least five well-pub­li­cized inci­dents.

South­west ignored SAALT’s repeat­ed demands to address racial and reli­gious pro­fil­ing in their train­ing guide­lines and com­plaint pro­ce­dures.  Enough was enough, and we said goodbye to their sponsorship.

Now we need you! Please step up now as an indi­vid­ual stand­ing for equal­i­ty and jus­tice.  Any amount you can con­tribute that is mean­ing­ful to you would make a big dif­fer­ence.

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Your gift supports young lead­ers as they chart out a path for a bet­ter future for our com­mu­ni­ties and coun­try.  Lead­ers like Nikhil, who believes that the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute “will serve as inspi­ra­tion to many more young South Asian Amer­i­cans, just as it did for me.”

With your help, we can ensure that our future is filled with young lead­ers who are inspired to work for South Asian jus­tice, and indeed jus­tice for all.  Please give today.

With resolve and grat­i­tude,

Suman Raghunathan,
Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, SAALT

Southwest Went Low. Help Us Fly High!

Dear Friend,

For the past 7 years we’ve received fund­ing sup­port from South­west Air­lines to help with numer­ous pro­grams includ­ing mak­ing the SAALT Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI) pos­si­ble. YLI annu­al­ly brings togeth­er under­grad­u­ate stu­dents and oth­er young adults to build lead­er­ship skills, con­nect with activists and men­tors, and explore social change strate­gies on issues that affect South Asian and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties in the U.S. Through YLI, we are build­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of South Asian com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers.

But because the air­line has treat­ed our com­mu­ni­ties like sec­ond-class cit­i­zens, we have terminated our relationship with Southwest.

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South­west employ­ees have been racial­ly pro­fil­ing Mus­lim, Arab, and South Asian pas­sen­gers in the last year, includ­ing at least five well-pub­li­cized inci­dents. One well-cov­ered inci­dent involved kick­ing a Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Berkley stu­dent off a flight in April 2016 for say­ing “Inshal­lah” to his father on the phone.

Our decision was not taken lightly nor made in haste.

As a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, the $10,000 we lost by ter­mi­nat­ing our rela­tion­ship with South­west affects SAALT’s abil­i­ty to sup­port tomor­row’s lead­ers through our YLI pro­gram.

SAALT and our part­ners sent mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tions to South­west, includ­ing to CEO Gary Kelly, over the last year express­ing our con­cerns. Dis­ap­point­ing­ly, all we received was one unsat­is­fac­to­ry response after anoth­er.

South­west made it clear they would issue no apol­o­gy to the affect­ed pas­sen­gers nor would it address pro­fil­ing in their cor­po­rate train­ing guide­lines and com­plaint pro­ce­dures. In short, we saw no effort by South­west Air­lines to estab­lish pro­tec­tions against racial and reli­gious pro­fil­ing of pas­sen­gers on its flights. The air­line con­tin­ues to deflect any respon­si­bil­i­ty for its actions, even as the lev­el of hos­til­i­ty against our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ues to increase nation­wide.

So we said "enough!" and good­bye to South­west.

Now we need your help to replace this lost funding, and make sure that YLI can keep grow­ing. The 2016–2017 cohort is focused on Build­ing Immi­grant Rights, a top­ic in which South Asian Amer­i­cans have a tremen­dous stake.

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Please help SAALT replace these lost funds, and sup­port tomor­row’s lead­ers today. Any amount that is mean­ing­ful to you will make a dif­fer­ence.

We took a stand against hate, against pro­fil­ing, and for equal­i­ty when we returned South­west­’s mon­ey. We took a stand for your right to fly with dignity. Thank you for stand­ing with us and believ­ing in the work we do at SAALT for and with the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty. Since South­west went low, we need your sup­port to ensure that our com­mu­ni­ty con­tin­ues to fly high. Please donate today.

With hope,
Suman Raghu­nathan,
Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, SAALT

New FBI Hate Crimes Report Reveals Massive Increase in Anti-Muslim Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Novem­ber 17, 2016
Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di, vivek@saalt.org

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) — a lead­ing nation­al South Asian civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing the diver­si­ty of our grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties in the Unit­ed States — is pro­found­ly con­cerned by the find­ings of the 2015 Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion’s (FBI) Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics report released this week. The FBI’s analy­sis revealed 5,850 hate crimes were report­ed in 2015, a 7% increase from 2014. Two deeply dis­turb­ing rev­e­la­tions in the report are the 23% increase in reli­gious-based hate crimes and the 67% increase in anti-Mus­lim hate crimes across the coun­try in 2015.

“The 257 anti-Mus­lim crimes report­ed in 2015 are the sec­ond high­est on record in the Unit­ed States, trail­ing only the back­lash after the attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “Hun­dreds of hate vio­lence inci­dents have already been report­ed in only a week after these deeply divi­sive elec­tions. This leads many in our com­mu­ni­ty to believe that the FBI’s sta­tis­tics are only the tip of the ice­berg, with much worse yet to come.”

The FBI’s sober­ing sta­tis­tics may pale in com­par­i­son to real­i­ty, how­ev­er, as under­re­port­ing remains a con­sis­tent issue across the coun­try. The num­ber of law enforce­ment agen­cies that par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 2015 FBI data col­lec­tion effort decreased from 15,494 in 2014 to 14,997 in 2015, and less than 12% of these agen­cies even report­ed one or more hate crimes to the FBI. This means that 88% of par­tic­i­pat­ing police agen­cies report­ed zero hate crimes to the FBI. Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics stud­ies have indi­cat­ed that the data report­ed to the FBI may be as low as 35% of actu­al lev­els of hate crime in the coun­try.

“The issue of under­re­port­ing is of crit­i­cal con­cern when attempt­ing to diag­nose the sever­i­ty of vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties,” stat­ed Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy at SAALT. “South Asians are the most rapid­ly grow­ing demo­graph­ic group in the Unit­ed States, with a pop­u­la­tion of over 4.3 mil­lion. Law enforce­ment agen­cies must par­tic­i­pate active­ly and accu­rate­ly in the report­ing of hate crimes in order to shed light on the full scope of vio­lence fac­ing our grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties.”

This is one of the many rea­sons SAALT devel­oped an online data­base track­ing inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric against our com­mu­ni­ties. Even before the post-elec­tion surge in vio­lence, we tracked over 200 inci­dents from Novem­ber 2015, and we encour­age peo­ple to con­tin­ue to uti­lize this resource to report inci­dents against our com­mu­ni­ties.

A wel­comed aspect of the FBI’s report was the new addi­tion of cat­e­gories for crimes tar­get­ing Sikhs, Arabs, and Hin­dus, who have his­tor­i­cal­ly been tar­gets of vio­lence due to real or per­ceived reli­gions and appear­ance. SAALT sup­port­ed the tremen­dous advo­ca­cy work of the Sikh com­mu­ni­ty fol­low­ing the 2012 Oak Creek, WI gur­d­wara mas­sacre where a known white suprema­cist killed six Sikh wor­ship­pers. This even­tu­al­ly led to the FBI adding these new cat­e­gories to help dis­ag­gre­gate hate crimes data more accu­rate­ly.

The alarm­ing data in the FBI’s report and the post-elec­tion surge in vio­lence under­score the cli­mate of hate sur­round­ing our com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide. It is high time our com­mu­ni­ties are pri­or­i­tized, not as tar­gets, but as Amer­i­cans, who deserve all the rights and pro­tec­tions avail­able under the law.

Gender and Reproductive Health Justice for South Asian Immigrant Communities

Reflection from SAALT’s 2016–2017 Young Leaders Institute

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Gen­der jus­tice has always been a deep pas­sion of mine, espe­cial­ly as a South Asian woman who grew up in the South.  It was while I was in high school in Atlanta, Geor­gia that I real­ized I was not receiv­ing com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion regard­ing repro­duc­tive health such as con­tra­cep­tion and con­sent.  My school offered absti­nence-only edu­ca­tion.  This has clear short­com­ings, which in tan­dem with the taboo nature of repro­duc­tive health con­ver­sa­tions with­in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty cre­at­ed a cul­ture of igno­rance, fear, and avoid­ance sur­round­ing this very impor­tant top­ic.

While I strength­ened my under­stand­ing of repro­duc­tive health in col­lege and beyond, I under­stood that I was par­tic­u­lar­ly priv­i­leged to have this option.  So many mem­bers of my com­mu­ni­ty did not have this access, and I was not sure how to cre­ate path­ways to this infor­ma­tion strate­gi­cal­ly or effec­tive­ly.  When I learned of SAALT’s Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI), I thought this would be an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty for me to learn the tools and strate­gies to cre­ate the change I want­ed to see.

An impor­tant aspect that I explored through YLI was the fact that South Asians are often mis­un­der­stood in Amer­i­ca to be exclu­sive­ly upper or mid­dle-class “mod­el minori­ties.” How­ev­er this nar­ra­tive eras­es South Asians that do not fit into this stereo­type, includ­ing immi­grant women who often lack access to edu­ca­tion, lan­guage acqui­si­tion, a career, finan­cial secu­ri­ty, and health­care, result­ing in bar­ri­ers to access­ing repro­duc­tive choice. Addi­tion­al­ly, neg­a­tive stereo­types about South Asians con­tribute toward racial pro­fil­ing and even vio­lence against South Asian women. For exam­ple, in Indi­ana, only two women to date have been pros­e­cut­ed under the statewide feti­cide bill — and both were Asian women, even though Asian women make up less than one per­cent of Indi­ana’s pop­u­la­tion. While a gen­er­al lack of knowl­edge about South Asian women’s access to repro­duc­tive health and rights may seem like a harm­less issue, there are indeed actu­al vic­tims and con­se­quences.

As part of the YLI 2016 cohort, I attend­ed a two-day con­ven­ing in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land in July. The week­end includ­ed sev­er­al guest speak­ers, work­shops, and activ­i­ties relat­ed to orga­niz­ing with­in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty.  In these work­shops, we learned about the his­to­ry of South Asian immi­gra­tion to the Unit­ed States, the laws and poli­cies that stim­u­lat­ed waves of immi­gra­tion into the U.S., the ways that South Asians have expe­ri­enced increased hate vio­lence after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, and about orga­nized move­ments against immi­grants, South Asians, and Mus­lims. The ses­sion that I enjoyed the most was facil­i­tat­ed by Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Pol­i­cy Direc­tor at SAALT, and con­cerned the his­to­ry of South Asian immi­gra­tion into the Unit­ed States. Before her pre­sen­ta­tion, we placed the year in which our own fam­i­lies immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States on a makeshift time­line, which cen­tered all of us in U.S. immi­gra­tion his­to­ry.

For my project in YLI specif­i­cal­ly, I am work­ing to inter­view sev­er­al South Asian women with immi­grant back­grounds about their expe­ri­ences with repro­duc­tive health­care. SAALT’s Young Lead­ers Insti­tute helped me under­stand how diverse the South Asian pop­u­la­tion is in the Unit­ed States, and how impor­tant it is to draw from a diverse range of indi­vid­u­als, by pay­ing atten­tion to sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, socio-eco­nom­ic sta­tus, and immi­gra­tion sta­tus when choos­ing peo­ple to inter­view. While it will be a chal­leng­ing task for me giv­en the lim­i­ta­tions of my own com­mu­ni­ty and who I know, branch­ing out beyond inter­view­ing upper mid­dle-class Indi­an women will be cru­cial for my project.

YLI also pro­vid­ed me with incred­i­ble insight, strate­gic guid­ance and help­ful tech­niques to start con­duct­ing my project. Although I have always con­sid­ered myself a fem­i­nist and intend­ed to cen­ter my project on women, one of the activ­i­ties dur­ing the SAALT con­ven­ing forced me to real­ize that I often think about immi­grant sto­ries from a male per­spec­tive. When prompt­ed to reflect on my mother’s expe­ri­ences emi­grat­ing to Amer­i­ca, I real­ized that I knew far more about my father’s expe­ri­ence than my mother’s. This was an impor­tant moment mov­ing for­ward – I learned that I need to make a con­scious effort to cen­ter women’s sto­ries in my work.

By open­ing up this con­ver­sa­tion at least on a per­son­al lev­el, I hope to enhance my own under­stand­ing of repro­duc­tive health with­in the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty, as well as expand the con­ver­sa­tion into the com­mu­ni­ty with­in a cul­tur­al­ly com­pe­tent frame­work.  South Asians are the most rapid­ly grow­ing facet of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion, and the opac­i­ty sur­round­ing sex­u­al­i­ty and repro­duc­tive health issues can neg­a­tive­ly impact fam­i­lies with­in the com­mu­ni­ty for decades to come.

I am incred­i­bly grate­ful to SAALT and the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute for empow­er­ing me with tools to begin this explo­ration.

Anusha Ravi
Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress

We Accept The Challenge

Dear Friend,

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.

Stand with us by mak­ing a gen­er­ous dona­tion today.

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.

With deter­mi­na­tion,

Suman Raghu­nathan
Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, SAALT

We Will Not Be Deterred

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Novem­ber 9, 2016
Con­tact: Suman Raghu­nathan, suman@saalt.org

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Dear Friend,
At South Asians Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), we have been alarmed and dis­mayed by the divi­sive mes­sages and poli­cies that have typ­i­fied the elec­tion debate over the past year. Our com­mu­ni­ties, immi­grants, Mus­lims — indeed huge swaths of our nation — have been tar­get­ed, scape­goat­ed, and attacked. Our faith and alle­giance to the US as well as our very place in the nation has been ques­tioned, yet we are remind­ed that our com­mu­ni­ties are vibrant and have a cru­cial and long­stand­ing place in the US. I am writ­ing to you now to say we will remain unde­terred.

Today and in the days, weeks, and months to come, SAALT will con­tin­ue to fight for racial jus­tice, equal­i­ty, and civ­il rights for our com­mu­ni­ties and indeed for all Amer­i­cans. We pledge to redou­ble our efforts to ensure every­one, regard­less of their race, real or per­ceived reli­gion, eth­nic­i­ty, or immi­gra­tion sta­tus can pray in peace, walk in safe­ty, and live with the lib­er­ty and equal­i­ty enshrined in our Con­sti­tu­tion. We will hold the line on jus­tice for our com­mu­ni­ties in Wash­ing­ton, DC and we will chart a path for­ward.

South Asians made their voic­es heard in many ways this elec­tion sea­son, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to the bal­lot box. Our voic­es and our pri­or­i­ties will con­tin­ue to be nec­es­sary in the com­ing weeks, months and years. We are 4.3 mil­lion strong, we are the fastest grow­ing demo­graph­ic group in the Unit­ed States, and we have real pow­er.

SAALT will con­tin­ue to work with you, our com­mu­ni­ties nation­wide, and our part­ners in the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions to unite, ampli­fy the voic­es of our com­mu­ni­ty and part­ners, and pro­vide resources to demand our place in this nation. One impor­tant way to do so is by con­nect­ing with a local South Asian orga­ni­za­tion in your com­mu­ni­ty, and I encour­age you to do so by reach­ing out to a mem­ber of the NCSO close to you.

We remain con­cerned by the prospect of esca­lat­ing hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic rhetoric tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. We’ve heard from many in our com­mu­ni­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly Mus­lim and Sikh-Amer­i­cans, who have expressed con­cerns for their safe­ty and for their chil­dren at this chal­leng­ing time. We stand unequiv­o­cal­ly with you in the face of these attacks and call on pol­i­cy­mak­ers, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and law enforce­ment to ensure that our com­mu­ni­ties are safe, our con­cerns are heard, and our rights are pro­tect­ed. We need to hear from you about hate vio­lence inci­dents and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric as they occur. Report these inci­dents via our data­base and social media using #Track­Hate.

Final­ly, we know many of you may want to be in com­mu­ni­ty with oth­er South Asian Amer­i­cans nation­wide. SAALT is ready and will­ing to pro­vide a space for this nation­al con­ver­sa­tion — join this dia­logue by reach­ing out to us on Face­book, Twit­ter, and our web­site by using the hash­tag #Con­ver­SAsian.

Our coun­try is deeply divid­ed, more than we had thought. Yet we grow even more unit­ed in response. We ask you to join us — the time is now to begin the work of the future.

With deter­mi­na­tion,

Suman Raghu­nathan,
Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, SAALT

SAALT Calls on President-Elect Trump to Abandon Trickle Down Intolerance, Advance Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Novem­ber 9, 2016
Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di, vivek@saalt.org

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) joins our com­mu­ni­ty and much of the nation in grap­pling with the results of one of the most divi­sive, anti-immi­grant, and xeno­pho­bic elec­tion cam­paigns in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry.  We call on Pres­i­dent-Elect Trump to imme­di­ate­ly renounce the hate-filled rhetoric used through­out his cam­paign and com­mit to safe­guard­ing the rights and free­doms of all Amer­i­cans, includ­ing the 4.3 mil­lion South Asians liv­ing in the U.S.

“The Pres­i­dent-Elect must acknowl­edge the steady nar­ra­tive of hate and fear used dur­ing his cam­paign has served as a ral­ly­ing cry for vio­lence and oppres­sion against our com­mu­ni­ties,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT.  “At this ear­ly and urgent hour, the Pres­i­dent-Elect must imme­di­ate­ly reverse course and part­ner with South Asian orga­ni­za­tions nation­wide to pro­tect our com­mu­ni­ty’s civ­il lib­er­ties, to achieve immi­gra­tion reform, and to under­stand that the only way to Make Amer­i­ca Great is by ensur­ing the fun­da­men­tal free­doms of every­one under the law.”

We’ve heard from many in our com­mu­ni­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly Mus­lim and Sikh Amer­i­cans, who have expressed con­cerns for their safe­ty in the wake of the elec­tions. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, these fears are not mis­placed.  SAALT has tracked a dis­turb­ing uptick in hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic rhetoric against our com­mu­ni­ties in the last year, with 200 instances occur­ring across the coun­try since Novem­ber 2015.  Of the over 80 inci­dents of xeno­pho­bic rhetoric we’ve tracked, over 25% have been state­ments by the Pres­i­dent-Elect, includ­ing call­ing for a “com­plete and total shut­down of Mus­lims enter­ing the Unit­ed States”.  Our nation as a whole and our com­mu­ni­ties deserve bet­ter.  We call on the Pres­i­dent-Elect to part­ner with SAALT and the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions to pre­vent, detect, and respond to bias-moti­vat­ed inci­dents of vio­lence, and to denounce any hate direct­ed at our com­mu­ni­ties.

The new admin­is­tra­tion must also aban­don the anti-immi­grant and anti-Mus­lim rhetoric that were hall­marks of the cam­paign.  State­ments about “build­ing a wall”, using a “depor­ta­tion force”, and “extreme vet­ting” must be cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly renounced.  The Pres­i­dent-Elect must instead pri­or­i­tize engag­ing mem­bers of Con­gress to cre­ate a roadmap to cit­i­zen­ship, pre­serve fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion sys­tems, and put an end to the dra­con­ian immi­gra­tion enforce­ment poli­cies cur­rent­ly in place.  With 450,000 undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­an Amer­i­cans alone, South Asians have a tremen­dous stake in fix­ing our bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem, and we call on the new admin­is­tra­tion to pass immi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion that will defend our rights and expand oppor­tu­ni­ty for immi­grant fam­i­lies.

If the Pres­i­dent-Elect gov­erns in the man­ner in which he cam­paigned, he must be held account­able to the law and to the peo­ple of our coun­try.  Mak­ing Amer­i­ca Great is only pos­si­ble by mak­ing Amer­i­ca bet­ter, day by day, togeth­er.  SAALT stands ready in this impor­tant endeav­or and remains unde­terred in our demand for South Asian equal­i­ty.

SAALT relies on your finan­cial sup­port to advo­cate on behalf of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty nation­wide.  Please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion today.  An invest­ment in SAALT is an invest­ment in South Asian rights.  We are a 501c (3) non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion.