Board of Directors

Simran Noor
Board Chair & Independent Consultant 

Sim­ran Noor (she/her) cur­rent­ly serves as the Chair of the Board of Direc­tors for South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er. Sim­ran comes to racial, eco­nom­ic and social jus­tice work as a sur­vivor of vio­lence; expe­ri­enced per­son­al­ly and sys­tem­i­cal­ly. Born into a Pun­jabi Sikh, Hin­du and Par­si fam­i­ly in New Del­hi, raised out­side of Bal­ti­more and based in New York, Simran’s lat­est endeav­or is co-cre­at­ing a NYC based BIPOC Con­sult­ing Coop­er­a­tive set to launch in mid 2021 and reflec­tive of her inter­est in com­mu­ni­ty build­ing and sol­i­dar­i­ty economies. Sim­ran is cur­rent­ly an inter­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant and coach focused on per­son­al pow­er and resilience, strateg­y and orga­ni­za­tion­al devel­op­ment and move­ment build­ing with a focus on devel­op­ing process­es and set­ting clear out­comes to achieve racial jus­tice and heal­ing as a means to shift the ways in which sys­tems dehu­man­ize, sep­a­rate and harm all peo­ple, with a par­tic­u­lar focus on women and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. 

 She brings over ten years of expe­ri­ence work­ing in and with direct­ly with impact­ed com­mu­ni­ties, devel­op­ing pol­i­cy and strat­e­gy, lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al change process­es and serv­ing as staff with­in the phil­an­thropic sec­tor. Since start­ing NOOR Con­sult­ing in Feb­ru­ary of 2018, she has worked with numer­ous clients in var­i­ous capac­i­ties includ­ing the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, Career Rise, Com­mu­ni­ty Change, Detroit People’s Plat­form, EMPLOY Youth Col­lab­o­ra­tive, Enter­prise Com­mu­ni­ty Part­ners, Inter­na­tion­al Pan­el of Experts on Sus­tain­abil­i­ty (IPES-Food), It Takes Roots, SPARCC, as well as a num­ber of phil­an­thropic orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing Annie E. Casey, Cho­rus, Com­mu­ni­ty Food Fun­ders, Doris Duke, Jessie Smith Noyes, Kres­ge, MS, Nathan Cum­mings, Neigh­bor­hood Fun­ders’ Group and the Surd­na Foun­da­tion.  She has facil­i­tat­ed events for busi­ness social impact pro­grams includ­ing Sir Kensington’s and Adi­das. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Sim­ran served as a Senior Fel­low at Race For­ward and (pre­merg­er) was Vice Pres­i­dent of Pol­i­cy and Pro­grams at the Cen­ter for Social Inclu­sion and Deputy Direc­tor of the Gov­ern­ment Alliance on Race and Equi­ty (GARE).  Pri­or to join­ing CSI, Sim­ran held var­i­ous roles includ­ing as staff at the W.K. Kel­logg and Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tions and as a mid­dle school teacher and non­prof­it leader in Bal­ti­more City. Sim­ran has writ­ten and com­ment­ed for a vari­ety of media includ­ing the Detroit Free Press, The Times-Picayune, The Hill, Aljazeera Amer­i­ca and City Lim­its Mag­a­zine. She also has been a fea­tured pan­elist on MSNBC’s Melis­sa Har­ris-Per­ry. Sim­ran holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Amer­i­can Stud­ies and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more Coun­ty and a dual master’s degree in Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion and Social Pol­i­cy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia. She also serves as a Project Team mem­ber of Build­ing Move­ment Project and a Board mem­ber of Bore­alis Phil­an­thropy. She is a proud mem­ber of War­riors for Embod­ied Lib­er­a­tion, a pro­gram of Uni­ver­sal Part­ner­ship (UP).

Bix Gabriel
Writer, and Co-Founder, TakeTwo Services 
Bix (she/her) start­ed her career as a copy­writer in adver­tis­ing, but found that sell­ing tooth­paste did­n’t quite mea­sure up to the thrill of telling sto­ries about trans­form­ing peo­ple’s lives. For more than sev­en­teen years, Bix has been help­ing non­prof­its tell their sto­ries, and per­suad­ing peo­ple to care, give, and act. Her exper­tise is in devel­op­ing mem­o­rable brands, cre­at­ing and exe­cut­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paigns and strate­gies, sto­ry­telling, writ­ing, and staff and board train­ings. From her roots in col­lege anti-caste activism, she remains com­mit­ted to tak­ing down struc­tures and sys­tems that per­pet­u­ate caste‑, race‑, gender‑, and immi­gra­tion-based oppres­sion, and build­ing up peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties, and nar­ra­tives that uplift equi­ty and jus­tice. She has three Mas­ters degrees: Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Media Stud­ies, and an MFA in Cre­ative Writ­ing. She’s best at ‘using her words’, and after a cup — or sev­en — of tea.

Darakshan Raja
Founder and Co-Director, Justice for Muslims Collective
Ms. Raja is a Pak­istani Mus­lim immi­grant woman from the Bronx who moved to Wash­ing­ton DC in order to impact social poli­cies. She has worked on a range of issues that includes orga­niz­ing against anti-Mus­lim racism and state vio­lence, gen­der-based vio­lence, human rights abus­es and the nation­al secu­ri­ty sys­tem, and the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. She cur­rent­ly serves as the Founder/­Co-Direc­tor of Jus­tice For Mus­lims Col­lec­tive, a Mus­lim-led space orga­niz­ing against Islam­o­pho­bia in the DC metro area. She for­mer­ly served as the Inter­im Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Peace Cen­ter, a local grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion focused on pro­vid­ing polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion, strate­gic resources, and sup­port for actions and mobi­liza­tions local­ly. At the Wash­ing­ton Peace Cen­ter, she has man­aged the DC Train­ers Net­work, a month­ly train­ing for local grass­roots activists.  Pri­or to join­ing the Wash­ing­ton Peace Cen­ter, Ms. Raja worked at the Urban Insti­tute on a range of crim­i­nal jus­tice eval­u­a­tions for state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies. She cur­rent­ly serves as a board of trustee for the Con­sumer Health Foun­da­tion. Ms. Raja holds an MA in Foren­sic Psy­chol­o­gy from John Jay Col­lege of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice.

Deepa Panchang
Nurse Practitioner
Deepa is a nurse prac­ti­tion­er liv­ing in New Orleans. She began her career in inter­na­tion­al health and human rights, work­ing to hold human­i­tar­i­an aid mech­a­nisms account­able and uplift grass­roots voic­es. In 2014, she returned to school to study nurs­ing, and now works as a Fam­i­ly Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er at a com­mu­ni­ty clin­ic, focus­ing on LBGTQ+ issues, sex­u­al health, and harm reduc­tion. She has been active in racial, health, and birth jus­tice issues in the New Orleans com­mu­ni­ty over the past decade. Com­ing from an upper-caste Indi­an fam­i­ly with roots in Maha­rash­tra and Kar­nata­ka, she has been study­ing and unpack­ing the role of caste in her life and in the US con­text. She is pas­sion­ate about build­ing with oth­er South Asian dias­poric folks and across race lines towards a queer, anti-caste, anti-racist trans­for­ma­tive jus­tice vision.

Jayeesha Dutta
Artist, Cultural Organizer, Facilitator
Jay­ee­sha (she/her/ella) is a tri-coastal, tri-lin­gual Ben­gali inter­dis­ci­pli­nary artist, cul­tur­al orga­niz­er, pop-ed facil­i­ta­tor, and heal­ing jus­tice prac­ti­tion­er with 25 years of move­ment build­ing expe­ri­ence. She was born in Mobile, raised in New York, aged in Oak­land, and is deeply grate­ful to call New Orleans home. She is a co-found­ing mem­ber of Anoth­er Gulf Is Pos­si­ble Col­lab­o­ra­tive, cat­alyz­ing the use of art, cul­ture, media, direct action, and trans­for­ma­tive jus­tice from across the Gulf South to the Glob­al South towards a just tran­si­tion for our peo­ple and the plan­et. Jay­ee­sha is also a train­er and coor­di­na­tor for the Stay­ing Pow­er Heal­ing Jus­tice Pro­gram at Wind­call Insti­tute. In addi­tion to SAALT, she serves on the boards of direc­tors for Eye­wit­ness Pales­tine, Alter­nate Roots, and the Cli­mate Jus­tice Alliance. Jay­ee­sha is an avid trav­el­er, home chef, live music lover, danc­ing queen, and adores being near (prefer­ably swim­ming in) any body of clean, life giv­ing water.

Maheen Kaleem, Esq.
Attorney
Maheen Kaleem, Esq., is a first gen­er­a­tion Pak­istani and human rights attor­ney who has ded­i­cat­ed her life to cre­at­ing a world where girls of col­or are safe and free. She has almost twen­ty years of expe­ri­ence sup­port­ing youth and fam­i­lies impact­ed by per­son­al and state vio­lence, and mak­ing way for those tra­di­tion­al­ly mar­gin­al­ized from for­mal sites of pow­er to lead efforts to advance racial and gen­der jus­tice. In the var­i­ous roles she has held in direct ser­vice, advo­ca­cy, and phil­an­thropy, she has always ground­ed her work in the wis­dom of women and girls who have sur­vived the carcer­al sys­tem, sex­u­al exploita­tion and abuse, and sex traf­fick­ing. Maheen cur­rent­ly serves as the Deputy Direc­tor of Grant­mak­ers for Girls of Col­or, an orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to ampli­fy­ing and resourc­ing trans­for­ma­tive orga­niz­ing work led by girls and gen­der expan­sive youth of col­or. She has advo­cat­ed for the suc­cess­ful pas­sage of numer­ous laws and poli­cies at the fed­er­al, state, and local lev­els that pro­tect the rights of sur­vivors of child sex traf­fick­ing, as well as girls in the child wel­fare and juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems. Maheen cur­rent­ly resides on unced­ed Pis­cat­away land in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., also known as Choco­late City. She is from the Bay Area in Cal­i­for­nia, and loves poet­ry, music, the Real House­wives of Atlanta and Potomac, and the Gold­en State War­riors.

Moneek Bhanot
Co-Founder and Leadership Coach, Reflecting Justice
Mon­eek Bhan­ot (she/her) is a sys­tems-lev­el strate­gist, coach, and leader. Being a Pun­jabi Sikh woman has taught Mon­eek the impor­tance of hon­or­ing the human­i­ty in our­selves and oth­ers, show­ing up in ser­vice to her com­mu­ni­ty, and truth-telling. She is the Co-Founder of Reflect­ing Jus­tice, a DEI coach­ing and con­sult­ing firm that works with indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions to dis­man­tle white suprema­cy and cre­ate equi­table sys­tems. Mon­eek has fif­teen years of expe­ri­ence in K‑12, high­er edu­ca­tion, and non-prof­it set­tings, where she has guid­ed stu­dents, edu­ca­tors, and lead­ers to more deeply under­stand their role in chal­leng­ing sys­tems of oppres­sion. She has also led orga­ni­za­tions to exam­ine poli­cies and prac­tices to ensure they are equi­table at all lev­els, from per­for­mance man­age­ment to strate­gic plan­ning. She received her under­grad­u­ate degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, and her mas­ter’s degree in High­er Edu­ca­tion Admin­is­tra­tion from the Har­vard Grad­u­ate School of Edu­ca­tion. She lives in the Bay Area with her hus­band and best friend, Ravi, and their two won­der­ful chil­dren.

Naji’a Tameez
Lawyer
Naji’a Tameez is a Pak­istani-Amer­i­can lawyer in New York City. She became a lawyer in the hopes of using her career to give back to the immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties she was raised in. She has devot­ed her legal career to work­ing with, and for, mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties, specif­i­cal­ly in hous­ing rights, immi­gra­tion, and access to health care. Naji’a has a BA from Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty, is also an alum­na of Dou­glas Res­i­den­tial Col­lege, and has her JD from Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege of Law.

Nikita Chaudhry
Artist, Activist, Educator
Niki­ta (she/hers) is a Punjabi/Indian Amer­i­can artist, activist, and edu­ca­tor cur­rent­ly based in Los Ange­les. A grad­u­ate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a major in Dra­ma, minor in Per­for­mance Stud­ies, and hon­ors cer­tifi­cate in The­atre Stud­ies, her projects have extend­ed from stage to screen. She is most pas­sion­ate about push­ing for inter­sec­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion in media and enter­tain­ment, as well as cre­ative work that uplifts under­rep­re­sent­ed nar­ra­tives and direct­ly gives back to the com­mu­ni­ty. Along­side her per­for­mance career, she con­sults with social jus­tice orga­ni­za­tions, most notably hav­ing part­nered with the Wom­en’s March Nation­al Team for the Wom­en’s Con­ven­tion in Detroit in 2017, and cam­paign­ing with Nithya Raman for LA City Coun­cil and Cha­lo Vote for the 2020 elec­tion. As an edu­ca­tor, she has taught fit­ness, dance/movement, and musi­cal the­ater, and serves as a facil­i­ta­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics and per­for­mance.

Pushkar Sharma
Consultant, UNICEF Regional Office in South Asia
Pushkar has worked with the Unit­ed Nations in Koso­vo, the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Colom­bia, and Myan­mar. His writ­ing has been fea­tured in a vari­ety of pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Al Jazeera Eng­lish, the Chica­go Sun-Times, the Asian Amer­i­can Lit­er­ary Review, and Ink­stick Media. He co-found­ed the per­­for­­mance-poet­­ry duo, BROWNSTAR, and from 2009 to 2012 pro­duced UNIFICATION, a demon­stra­tion for peace in South Asia ben­e­fit­ing SAALT. Pushkar holds an MPA in Human Rights and Inter­na­tion­al Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty’s School of Inter­na­tion­al and Pub­lic Affairs, as well as a BA in Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies and Dra­ma from Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis.

Sabrina Singh
Attorney, Latham & Watkins, LLP
Born and raised in Kath­man­du Nepal, Sab­ri­na came to the Unit­ed States for her under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion and law school. Sab­ri­na served on the board of Nepal Ris­ing, a 501(c)(3) non-prof­it that mobi­lizes the Nepali dias­po­ra in the Unit­ed States for devel­op­ment efforts back home. A recent grad­u­ate of Har­vard Law School, Sab­ri­na served as a stu­dent attor­ney in the Inter­na­tion­al Human Rights Clin­ic and the Immi­gra­tion & Refugee Clin­ic. She has worked in the field of human rights, with Human Rights Watch and Earth­Rights Inter­na­tion­al. In Nepal, Sab­ri­na did busi­ness accel­er­a­tion and com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing with farm­ers and entre­pre­neurs in rur­al Nepal and con­duct­ed pol­i­cy research on wom­en’s eco­nom­ic empow­er­ment at a non-prof­it called Daay­it­wa.

Sasha Neha Ahuja
Change Lead, August Public Inc.
Sasha Neha Ahu­ja is a social work­er, com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er and advo­cate from New York City. Sasha got her start in move­ment build­ing work at the NY Taxi Work­ers Alliance over a decade ago. Since then, Sasha has built her career anchor­ing racial and gen­der jus­tice and facil­i­tat­ing com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven pol­i­cy change. Along­side years of work in South Asian-serv­ing orga­ni­za­tions in New York City, Sasha also spent six years as an orga­niz­er of DC Desi Sum­mer (now East Coast Sol­i­dar­i­ty Sum­mer), a rad­i­cal polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion pro­gram for South Asian youth that built on the lega­cy of Youth Sol­i­dar­i­ty Sum­mer (YSS). Sasha cur­rent­ly is a Change Lead at August Pub­lic Inc. where she helps teams build capac­i­ty for the future of work. Pri­or to this, Sasha served as Deputy Direc­tor of the Pol­i­cy & Inno­va­tion Divi­sion, with­in the Speaker’s Office at the NYC Coun­cil where she most notably drove Speak­er Melis­sa Mark-Viverito’s Young Women’s Ini­tia­tive, the first-in-the-nation ini­tia­tive ded­i­cat­ed to lift­ing up young cis and trans women and girls of col­or. Sasha is an Adjunct Pro­fes­sor at the Sil­ber­man School of Social Work at Hunter Col­lege and Touro Grad­u­ate School of Social Work, and train­er with a range of pro­gres­sive polit­i­cal train­ing orga­ni­za­tions work­ing with folks inter­est­ed in deep­en­ing their racial jus­tice analy­ses to engage in the work that dri­ves them. Sasha holds a BA from Hunter Col­lege of the City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York (free CUNY!) and a MS in Social Work from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty.

Shruti Garg
Senior Associate, Nonprofit Finance Fund

Shru­ti Garg is a sea­soned social jus­tice advo­cate, hav­ing worked both domes­ti­cal­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly. She cur­rent­ly serves as a Senior Asso­ciate at the Non­prof­it Finance Fund (NFF), where she works to strength­en the finan­cial health of non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions across the US. Before join­ing NFF, Shru­ti spent 6 years work­ing in the phil­an­thropic sec­tor. She served as Mem­ber­ship Engage­ment Direc­tor for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Phil­an­thropy (AAPIP), where she part­nered with over 50 foun­da­tion and 400 indi­vid­ual mem­bers to over­see nation­al pro­grams that increased invest­ments to Asian Amer­i­can and Pacif­ic Islander com­mu­ni­ties. Shru­ti has worked for major phil­an­thropic insti­tu­tions includ­ing the Ford Foun­da­tion and the Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions (OSF). At OSF, she man­aged the invest­ment of more than $45 mil­lion over 3 years to immi­grant rights, racial jus­tice, and low-wage work­er rights orga­ni­za­tions.  In inter­na­tion­al work, she worked at the New Del­hi-based gen­der jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion CREA, where she coor­di­nat­ed a nation­al human rights train­ing insti­tute and col­lab­o­rat­ed with fun­ders and advo­cates on inter­na­tion­al dia­logues. Based in Los Ange­les, Shru­ti grad­u­at­ed from Smith Col­lege and received her Mas­ter of Pub­lic Pol­i­cy from the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

sumi dutta
Writer, Organizer, Herbalist
sumi dut­ta (she/her) is a writer, orga­niz­er, and herbal­ist from Durham, North Car­oli­na. She is an upper caste/savarna, sec­ond gen­er­a­tion queer Ben­gali cis woman who joins the SAALT board with much love and rig­or for col­lec­tive trans­for­ma­tion through the anni­hi­la­tion of caste — in our­selves and in our com­mu­ni­ties. sumi car­ries over ten years of com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing expe­ri­ence across the U.S. South, work­ing most recent­ly with South­ern­ers on New Ground and PowerUp NC. Cur­rent­ly, sumi is a dig­i­tal cam­paign­er at 18 Mil­lion Ris­ing, a nation­al Asian Amer­i­can orga­ni­za­tion, where she orga­nizes Asian Amer­i­ca towards abo­li­tion and heal­ing jus­tice through rad­i­cal media projects. In her home­town, she is a co-cre­ator NC Mutu­al Herb, an herbal mutu­al aid net­work for BIPOC.