The SAALT Board is extremely happy to mark the beginning of the new year, the new decade, and this next era for SAALT with exciting news:
Lakshmi played a crucial role as SAALT’s Interim Executive Director in the past year, managing the organization’s operations and infrastructure while simultaneously leading on policy and campaigns.
Lakshmi’s strong commitment to SAALT’s mission and specifically to building movements for justice across communities of color was deepened while serving as Director of National Policy and Advocacy at SAALT for over 4 years. She developed SAALT’s policy and legislative agenda focused on immigration, racial profiling, and combating hate violence. During this time, she expanded the scope of SAALT’s coalition partners at the local and national levels, including facilitating more influence for South Asian American communities on Capitol Hill.
Before joining SAALT, Lakshmi served as the Policy Director for The Praxis Project, a national organization focused on health justice in communities of color. Prior to that, Lakshmi spent six years in New Orleans working with directly impacted communities on recovery and economic justice issues immediately after Hurricane Katrina. She comes to the Executive Director role at SAALT with 15 years of experience working in nonprofits and holds a Masters degree in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from The University of California, Berkeley.
Simran has over a decade of experience working in the public policy and nonprofit worlds to advance racial, social and economic justice. She currently runs her own strategy firm and works with organizations to institute processes and programs to achieve racial equity. She’s a past Race Forward fellow and served as Vice President for Policy and Programs for the Center for Social Inclusion. Simran holds a dual bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Political Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a dual masters degree in Public Administration and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Simran has served on the SAALT Board since 2017 and her varied expertise in philanthropy, movement building, and organizational development make her ideally situated to move to the position of SAALT’s Board Chair.
“I couldn’t be more excited to support Lakshmi and SAALT in the coming years. We look forward to continuing to position SAALT to be a national leader in visibilizing the issues faced by South Asian communities and working with awesome local and national partners to create more power and justice,” said Simran.
2020 also marks SAALT’s 20 year anniversary. Since SAALT’s inception, the threats and challenges our communities face have diversified, but the need to stand strong, united, and organized against injustice as a community remains just as urgent.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead SAALT after being grounded in our communities and the issues we confront over the last five years. I look forward to helping strengthen our movement and shift narratives within and about South Asian American communities,” said Lakshmi.
We are eager to have Lakshmi and Simran provide the leadership this moment calls for as we usher in this new era and we will count on your support to continue to build community power at this crucial time.