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.


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.


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.

"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.


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.


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.

saalt yli group

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

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


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

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


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

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.