SAALT is cur­rent­ly in a trans­for­ma­tion­al peri­od of chrysalis. Read our full chrysalis statement.


South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al move­ment strat­e­gy and advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to racial jus­tice through struc­tur­al change, which means we focus on trans­form­ing insti­tu­tions while lever­ag­ing incre­men­tal change as a means to shift con­di­tions and power.


We do this through fed­er­al pol­i­cy and advo­ca­cy, local and nation­al part­ner­ships, coali­tion build­ing (i.e. NCSO) and strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions. We con­vene ded­i­cat­ed spaces for South Asian orga­ni­za­tions across the coun­try to engage in polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion lead­ing to strate­gies and nar­ra­tives to real­ize our vision.


SAALT’s vision is to help build a South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty with shared val­ues that uplift all peo­ple of col­or, and will cross lines of race, caste, gen­der, sex­u­al­i­ty, and reli­gion to abol­ish sys­tems of oppres­sion and achieve col­lec­tive lib­er­a­tion. South Asians will come togeth­er around the belief that none of us is free until all of us are free, under­stand­ing that we can only reach this col­lec­tive lib­er­a­tion by cen­ter­ing and pri­or­i­tiz­ing the demands of those most mar­gin­al­ized. South Asians in the U.S. will work in uni­ty to com­bat poli­cies, rhetoric, and action stem­ming from sys­temic racism, Islam­o­pho­bia, and white suprema­cy; acknowl­edg­ing the transna­tion­al con­nec­tions to this vio­lence and its impact on the U.S. Diaspora.

Wide­spread polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion will bring peo­ple with vary­ing expe­ri­ences and back­grounds of polit­i­cal engage­ment togeth­er to con­tin­u­ous­ly learn from each oth­er, heal with each oth­er, and reflect on each other’s shared his­to­ries to bet­ter orga­nize for col­lec­tive lib­er­a­tion. There will be endur­ing infra­struc­ture to mobi­lize quick­ly and effec­tive­ly when threats or needs emerge that impact any one of us, pri­or­i­tiz­ing those most marginalized.


Near­ly 5.4 mil­lion South Asians live in the Unit­eded States, a 40 per­cent increase in pop­u­la­tion size from the Cen­sus count in 2010. Our grow­ing and diverse com­mu­ni­ties trace their roots to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Kash­mir, Pak­istan, Sri Lan­ka, the Mal­dives, and the dias­po­ra, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to Trinidad/Tobago, Guyana, Fiji, Tan­za­nia, and Kenya. South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er was orig­i­nal­ly con­ceived of as a South Asian lead­er­ship orga­ni­za­tion, to increase rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our com­mu­ni­ties, in all their diversity.

In SAALT’s first year, 20 years ago, 9/11 and the sub­se­quent Islam­o­pho­bic tar­get­ing of our com­mu­ni­ties through state and inter­per­son­al vio­lence shook South Asians across the U.S. In the midst of that cri­sis, SAALT rose both to meet the needs of the moment and to help build com­mu­ni­ty infra­struc­ture for South Asians so that the next time a cri­sis struck, we would have a net­work in place to come togeth­er and orga­nize, act, and advo­cate for our­selves and our rights.

Over twen­ty years lat­er, the world looks dif­fer­ent, yet so many of the under­ly­ing, struc­tur­al injus­tices remain. The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic is rag­ing, dev­as­tat­ing people’s lives across the U.S., and dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impact­ing Black and brown work­ing-class com­mu­ni­ties. Cli­mate change is no longer a dis­tant the­o­ry, but a lived real­i­ty that tran­scends bor­ders, which them­selves are already wit­ness­ing unprece­dent­ed mil­i­ta­riza­tion, sur­veil­lance, and occu­pa­tion. We rec­og­nize the need to resist insti­tu­tion­al­ized pow­er that con­tin­ues to threat­en the liveli­hoods and rights of peo­ple across the world, includ­ing Islam­o­pho­bia and Hin­du nation­al­ism, xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric, and white suprema­cist hate vio­lence, which all con­tin­ue to endan­ger the lives of South Asians both in the U.S. and globally.


We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold Dalit Bahu­jan & Adi­vasi truths, lega­cies & asser­tions as cen­tral to being anti caste and anni­hi­lat­ing caste

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold queer jus­tice and the dig­ni­ty of trans, non-bina­ry, and gen­der non-con­form­ing lives

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold Black and Indige­nous lib­er­a­tion, racial jus­tice, and decolonization

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold gen­der jus­tice and end­ing gen­der-based vio­lence across South Asian com­mu­ni­ties, while cen­ter­ing the expe­ri­ences of DBA women, queer, trans, and non­bi­na­ry people

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold eco­nom­ic jus­tice and the need to democ­ra­tize wealth and pow­er, informed by an analy­sis of class and anti-capitalism

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice and just tran­si­tion – the tran­si­tion from an extrac­tive econ­o­my to regen­er­a­tive econ­o­my – as a frame­work to build and sus­tain rela­tion­ships and address sys­tems change

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold dis­abil­i­ty jus­tice and equi­table access to care, both inter­per­son­al­ly and systemically

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold abo­li­tion of the prison indus­tri­al com­plex, in both the U.S. and across South Asia

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary DBA self asser­tions from South Asia (i.e. knowl­edge and cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion) as foun­da­tion­al to SAALT’s analy­sis of caste, faith, class and community

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold immi­grant jus­tice and that South Asianess exists in mul­ti­plic­i­ties of our immi­gra­tion and dias­poric iden­ti­ties, through self-reflec­tion and hon­est storytelling

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold the prac­tice of trans­for­ma­tive jus­tice, rela­tion­al growth, love, account­abil­i­ty and care for our­selves and our com­mu­ni­ties, through con­sis­tent prac­tices of giv­ing and receiv­ing feed­back and con­flict transformation

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold heal­ing and well­ness as con­nect­ed to deep and sus­tained social change, and there­fore inte­grat­ed into how we work together

We as SAALT unapolo­get­i­cal­ly val­ue and uphold human rights and the social equal­i­ty of all peo­ple, and refuse to uphold reli­gious and cul­tur­al prac­tices which rein­force inequality

View our most recent 990 and learn more about how we sus­tain our work.