Board of Directors

Simran Noor, Independent Consultant 

Sim­ran Noor cur­rent­ly serves as the Chair of the Board of Direc­tors for South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er. Sim­ran is an inde­pen­dent con­sul­tant focused on strat­e­gy devel­op­ment, insti­tu­tion­al change/organizational devel­op­ment and move­ment build­ing with a focus on devel­op­ing process­es and set­ting clear out­comes to achieve racial equi­ty. She brings over ten years of expe­ri­ence work­ing direct­ly with impact­ed com­mu­ni­ties, devel­op­ing pol­i­cy and strat­e­gy, lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al change process­es and serv­ing as staff with­in the phil­an­thropic sec­tor. She is also cur­rent­ly a Senior Fel­low at the new Race For­ward. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Sim­ran served as CSI’s Vice Pres­i­dent of Pol­i­cy & Pro­grams, a key senior lev­el man­ag­er who worked direct­ly with the Pres­i­dent and Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, pro­vid­ing pro­gram­mat­ic lead­er­ship through the man­age­ment and coor­di­na­tion of all pro­gram staff, strat­e­gy devel­op­ment, pro­gram man­age­ment, orga­ni­za­tion­al net­work­ing, alliance build­ing, and rela­tion­ship man­age­ment. In this role, Simran’s pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ties includ­ed pro­gram­mat­ic strat­e­gy, plan­ning, imple­men­ta­tion, staffing, and eval­u­a­tion. Dur­ing her tenor as Vice Pres­i­dent, she also served as a Deputy Direc­tor of the Gov­ern­ment Alliance on Race and Equi­ty (GARE) where she sup­port­ed the team in devel­op­ing strate­gies and tac­tics to sup­port local and region­al gov­ern­ment to achieve racial equi­ty. Pri­or to join­ing CSI, Sim­ran served as Pro­gram Man­ag­er at the W.K. Kel­logg Foun­da­tion where she worked with the Food, Health & Well-being, Racial Equi­ty, and Civic & Com­mu­ni­ty Engage­ment port­fo­lios. She also served as Pro­gram Assis­tant at the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, where she sup­port­ed the Pol­i­cy Research and KIDS COUNT teams. 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.

Anand Subramanian: Senior Director, PolicyLink

Anand Sub­ra­man­ian is the Vice Chair of SAALT’s Board of Direc­tors. At Pol­i­cyLink, Anand directs efforts to advance com­mu­ni­ty-cen­tered polic­ing, includ­ing serv­ing as the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the San Fran­cis­co Blue Rib­bon Pan­el on Trans­paren­cy, Account­abil­i­ty, and Fair­ness in Law Enforce­ment. He for­mer­ly led strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions for sev­er­al Pol­i­cyLink ini­tia­tives, includ­ing the Alliance for Boys and Men of Col­or, the Cal­i­for­nia Equi­ty Lead­ers Net­work, and the Pol­i­cyLink Cen­ter for Health Equi­ty and Place.  Pre­vi­ous­ly, he worked at the Clos­ing the Racial Wealth Gap Ini­tia­tive at the Insight Cen­ter for Com­mu­ni­ty Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment, where he facil­i­tat­ed the Experts of Col­or Net­work and exam­ined meth­ods to effec­tive­ly frame and mes­sage poli­cies sup­port­ing finan­cial secu­ri­ty for com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. He has served on the boards of the Oak­land Asian Cul­tur­al Cen­ter and Japan­ese Com­mu­ni­ty Youth Coun­cil, and was a col­lec­tive mem­ber of Orga­niz­ing Youth!, which aimed to pro­vide pro­gres­sive South Asian youth with tools to work for polit­i­cal, social, and eco­nom­ic jus­tice. Anand is an attor­ney and sings and plays gui­tar in the sib­ling dream pop duo, Fair and Kind.

 

Nitasha Sawhney: Garcia, Hernández, & Sawhney, LLP

Nitasha is the Sec­re­tary of SAALT’s Board of Direc­tors.  Nitasha is a part­ner in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area and Los Ange­les offices of Gar­cia, Hernán­dez, & Sawh­ney, LLP. She spe­cial­izes in edu­ca­tion, labor and employ­ment law. Nitasha serves as legal coun­sel to pub­lic school dis­tricts, com­mu­ni­ty col­lege dis­tricts, char­ter schools and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions on mat­ters con­cern­ing school gov­er­nance and pol­i­cy, labor nego­ti­a­tions, employ­ment, edu­ca­tion­al foun­da­tions, pub­lic meet­ing, ethics laws and strate­gic plan­ning and prob­lem solv­ing. Nitasha also serves as a Com­mis­sion­er on the Cal­i­for­nia Com­mis­sion on Asian Pacif­ic Islander Affairs. She was ini­tial­ly appoint­ed to the Com­mis­sion in 2006 and was reap­point­ed in 2010 by the Speak­er of the State Assem­bly. In May 2006, Nitasha was award­ed the Spir­it in Action Award from the Inter­faith Coun­cils of the cities of Gar­den Grove, Stan­ton, and West­min­ster for her work in rais­ing funds and aware­ness to aid vic­tims of geno­cide in the Dar­fur region of Sudan and her ded­i­ca­tion to pub­lic ser­vice. In April 2008, Nitasha received the Pub­lic Inter­est Award from the South Asian Bar Pub­lic Inter­est Foun­da­tion of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia for her ded­i­cat­ed com­mit­ment to com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice and pub­lic inter­est work. In May 2011, Nitasha received the Asian Pacif­ic Island Her­itage Award for Excel­lence in Civ­il Rights from the Cal­i­for­nia Asian Pacif­ic Islander Leg­isla­tive Cau­cus on the floor of the State Assem­bly. Nitasha received her juris doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis and her bach­e­lor of arts degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

Amina Khan: McLean Furniture Gallery

Pak­istan-born Ami­na immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States with her fam­i­ly as a high school sopho­more. Ami­na has been involved with efforts as an attor­ney and activist through her work with the Bux­ton Ini­tia­tive, the Pak­istan Amer­i­can Pub­lic Affairs Com­mit­tee, and the USPAK Foun­da­tion. She has been inter­viewed by The Wash­ing­ton Post, Voice of Amer­i­ca, Pak­istan TV, and oth­er media and radio orga­ni­za­tions on issues relat­ing to Pak­istan. She has spo­ken at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty, Johns Hop­kins School of Advanced and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies and oth­er insti­tu­tions on issues relat­ing to Islam and Women. Pri­or to these efforts, Ami­na served as a Senior Pol­i­cy Advi­sor at the U.S. Depart­ment of Ener­gy under Pres­i­dent Clinton’s Admin­is­tra­tion. Ami­na attend­ed George­town Uni­ver­si­ty in Wash­ing­ton, DC. She attend­ed Widen­er Uni­ver­si­ty in Delaware for her Juris Doc­tor degree and returned to George­town Uni­ver­si­ty Law Cen­ter for an LLM in Inter­na­tion­al and Com­par­a­tive Law, with Hon­ors. Ami­na cur­rent­ly works as a Direc­tor at McLean Fur­ni­ture Gallery, a fam­i­ly busi­ness found­ed by her par­ents. She lives in McLean with her hus­band and two chil­dren.

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.

 

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.

 

Darakshan Raja, Founder/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.