It’s been five years since SAALT opened its first staffed office. We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect back on the past five years and look forward to many more. I’ll be putting up entries from SAALT staff and Board as well as past interns and staff.
From Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT:
“Has it been five years already? When we opened our first office in New York City, just a few blocks from Penn Station, in a rented space at Citizens NYC, I was hopeful but unsure about what the first five years would hold. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a number of people, including staff (current and former), Board members, interns, volunteers, and donors, we have been able to build a strong foundation for a national organization. When I started at SAALT five years ago, I was very sensitive to the model that we would create — how could we develop a national organization that would be informed by the experiences of people who were facing inequity on a daily basis? It took years of trust-building, conversations, a bit of struggle, flexibility, and faith for the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations to emerge, and for SAALT to have a meaningful presence at policy tables.
In many ways, I think of another anniversary that is coming up — the ten year anniversary of September 11th. I remember in the days and months after 9/11, wondering how our community would be able to weather the unprecedented backlash, immigration enforcement tactics, and profiling that we faced. At that point in time, there was no formal network, no real ties that organizations had to one another. As we approach the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, the community feels stronger, more connected, a bit more cohesive. If SAALT has had a part in that, I think we have achieved quite a lot! Here’s to the next five years!”