Mission & Strategies
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.
We fulfill our mission through:
- Advocating for just and equitable public policies at the national and local level;
- Strengthening grassroots South Asian organizations as catalysts for community change;
- Informing and influencing the national dialogue on trends impacting our communities.
SAALT is the only national, staffed South Asian organization that advocates around issues affecting South Asian communities through a social justice framework.
SAALT’s strategies include conducting public policy analysis and advocacy; building partnerships with South Asian organizations and allies; mobilizing communities to take action; and developing leadership for social change.
SAALT’s programs are grounded in our guiding values that stem from a view of the world that is based on social change and social justice principles.
- We use a progressive social justice framework in our analysis.
- We apply a movement building, intersectional approach.
- We are rooted in community and believe in the value of community power to spur change.
- We advocate for structural change while working within existing power systems to make them just and inclusive.
- Engage in national level policy advocacy focused on hate violence, immigration, and civil rights and liberties, informed by our work and experience at the community level.
- Build community power by partnering with and strengthening the capacity of NCSO organizations, and candidate organizations for the NCSO, to impact state and local policy.
- Maintain crisis and rapid response capacity where critical gaps exist, and in service of advancing our communities’ priorities.
- Conduct analysis and gather evidence on the challenges and public policies that affect South Asian Americans.
- Articulate a communications strategy to amplify SAALT’s brand and impact, and shift national discourse about our communities.
- Spearhead community and constituency education on priority issues and policies impacting South Asian American communities.
- Center People Equitably – We center and prioritize the most historically and systemically marginalized populations within the South Asian American community. This means religious minorities; caste-oppressed populations; individuals with disabilities; queer/trans/non-binary communities; those with vulnerable immigration status; working class individuals; and those with limited English proficiency understanding. We believe that we all benefit from this approach. The leadership, experiences, analysis, demands of those most directly impacted by existing oppressive systems guide SAALT’s priorities and strategies. We believe the survivors of abusive power should not be tasked with educating those who have caused the harm and SAALT will intentionally work to provide this education.
- Think Transformationally – Our advocacy, while often situated within existing government structures, is oriented toward abolishing systems of oppression and achieving collective liberation. We only support reforms to this end and will use our power in existing national coalitions to push for the same.
- Share Power Collaboratively – We believe the pathway to collective liberation can only be achieved through partnerships, trust, shared vision, and non-negotiable commitments among values-aligned South Asian organizations. We believe that a constellation of organizations must inform and co-create this pathway, which will require political education for South Asian organizations and constituencies who are seeking to be connected to values aligned efforts. Our measure of alignment is also informed by and supportive of movements outside the South Asian American community to build power and create transformational change.
- Engage Intergenerationally – To build the foundation we need to shift power in a transformational way, we believe in the engagement and leadership of values-aligned people of all ages, generations and experiences understanding this allows various perspectives to inform strategy.
- Work Intersectionally – We are committed to proactively and emergently responding to and aligning with multiple domestic and transnational movements for liberation that exist in the U.S. and beyond. SAALT will ensure staff and partners are in tune to the immediate and long-term demands being made by these movements and remain informed by this context and landscape analysis.
- Reflect Continuously – We are committed to recognizing our role and privilege as a well-funded and staffed national organization. We seek to disrupt the ways in which we may perpetuate oppression, given this privilege, and toward that end, we will exercise self-awareness and accountability in this role.