SAALT in May: Community Events, New Faces, SAALT Speaks

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SAALT Community Connection - May 2009

In This Issue

SAALT Speaks

New Faces in SAALT

Community Calendar

Be the Change

Summit Wrap-Up

Support SAALT in 2009!

The SAALT Com­mu­ni­ty Con­nec­tion is a month­ly e‑newsletter that focus­es on com­mu­ni­ty news and events. To learn more about SAALT’s com­mu­ni­ty and pol­i­cy work, con­tact us at saalt@saalt.org

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al, non-prof­it ded­i­cat­ed to fos­ter­ing full and equal par­tic­i­pa­tion by South Asians in all aspects of Amer­i­can civic and polit­i­cal life through a social jus­tice frame­work that includes advo­ca­cy, coali­tion-build­ing, com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tion, and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment.

SAALT Speaks on First 100 Days, Immigration, and Citizenship

  • lavPriya Murthy, Pol­i­cy Direc­tor, appeared as a guest on WPFW Pacifica Radio in April to dis­cuss immi­gra­tion and civ­il rights issues affect­ing South Asians.
  • Deepa Iyer, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, appeared as a guest on Beneath the Surface radio show on KPFK 90.7FM in Los Ange­les, CA with Hamid Khan to dis­cuss cit­i­zen­ship and immi­gra­tion reform on April 23rd.
  • Deepa Iyer spoke on the Applied Research Cen­ter’s “Race in Review: First 100 Days” con­fer­ence call on April 28th.
  • Lavanya Sithanan­dam, SAALT Board Mem­ber, appeared on “That Fresh Radio Piece” on May 18th on WMUC 88.1FM in Col­lege Park, MD to dis­cuss the effects of recent immi­gra­tion enforce­ment efforts and raids on the chil­dren she sees as a pedi­a­tri­cian in Tako­ma Park.

Upcoming:

  • Deepa Iyer will be speak­ing at Georgia State University at the Immi­gra­tion & Human Rights Sym­po­sium on June 17th, 2009.
  • Deepa Iyer will be speak­ing at the “Know Your Community: A Discussion of Issues and Trends Affecting Asian Pacific Americans in Washington DC and Beyond" spon­sored by the Asian Pacif­ic Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion — Wash­ing­ton DC on June 3rd.

New Faces at SAALT

SAALT wel­comes Aaditi Dubale as the new SAALT Fel­low! She will be work­ing on Be the Change 2009, our Nation­al Day of Ser­vice, as well as sup­port­ing fundrais­ing and devel­op­ment efforts. Aadi­ti can be reached at aaditi@saalt.org.

SAALT also wel­comes our sum­mer interns:

Ashley Vij from George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty
Niralee Shah from Williams Col­lege
Zara Haq from Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty Wash­ing­ton Col­lege of Law

SAALT bids a fond farewell to Aparna Kothary, Fundrais­ing and Devel­op­ment Assis­tant. Aparna’s work at SAALT advanced the devel­op­ment of an indi­vid­ual mem­ber base, helped us to iden­ti­fy new fundrais­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, and expand­ed Be the Change — our Nation­al Day of Ser­vice.

Community Calendar

BTC09May 30th - New Jersey SAALT Circle Service project
Join the SAALT Cir­cle for a com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice project with ‘The Shar­ing Place’, a food pantry at St. Pauls’ Luther­an Church in Jer­sey City.  We’ll be prepar­ing, pack­ing, and serv­ing break­fast and lunch to the local com­mu­ni­ty.  Come out and BE THE CHANGE!


The Shar­ing Place — St. Luther­ans Church

440 Hobo­ken Avenue (five cor­ners) in Jer­sey City, NJ


Please RSVP by May 26th at
qudsia@saalt.org. Space is lim­it­ed — sign up now!

August 14th - August 16th: Transgress, Transform, Transcend - A Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Les­bian, Gay, Bisex­u­al, Trans­gen­der, and Queer (LGBTQ) Asian Amer­i­cans, South Asians and Pacif­ic Islanders (API)

Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in Seat­tle, WA
Reg­is­tra­tion infor­ma­tion is avail­able online at: http://www.nqapia.org

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund presents The Asian American Vote 2008

Dur­ing the 2008 Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions, 16,665 Asian Amer­i­can vot­ers were sur­veyed as part of AALDE­F’s nation­al mul­ti­lin­gual exit poll.  The exit poll was the largest non­par­ti­san sur­vey of its kind in the nation and was con­duct­ed in twelve Asian lan­guages and Eng­lish across 39 cities in 11 states.  At these spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tions across the coun­try, com­par­a­tive infor­ma­tion will be giv­en about the Asian Amer­i­can vote in the Pres­i­den­tial and Con­gres­sion­al elec­tions, con­cerns about key issues, first-time vot­ers, and pro­files of the Asian Amer­i­can vote by eth­nic­i­ty, par­ty enroll­ment, nativ­i­ty, age, and Eng­lish pro­fi­cien­cy.  For more information or to attend any of these presentations, contact jyang@aaldef.org or call 800.966.5946, www.aaldef.org

  • June 8 at 12:30 PM — The Mass­a­chu­setts Asian Amer­i­can Vote (Boston, MA)
  • June 8 at 5:30 PM (Low­ell, MA)
  • June 11 at 6:30 PM — The Mary­land Asian Amer­i­can Vote (co-spon­sored by SAALT) (Rockville, MD)
  • June 12 at 2:00PM — The Asian Amer­i­can Vote (mul­ti­state) (co-spon­sored by SAALT)(Wash­ing­ton, DC)
  • June 17 and 18 at 6:30 PM- The Vir­ginia Asian Amer­i­can Vote (co-spon­sored by SAALT) (Rich­mond, VA)
  • June 18 at 11:30 AM (co-spon­sored by SAALT) (Annan­dale, VA)
  • August 8 (time TBA) — The Chi­nese Amer­i­can Vote (San Fran­cis­co, CA)

Check out events on SAALT's Community Calendar.calendar

SAALT staff are avail­able to speak at your stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion meet­ings, con­fer­ences, and com­mu­ni­ty events on top­ics includ­ing immi­grant rights, South Asians in Amer­i­ca, civic engage­ment, and immi­gra­tion. Please email us at saalt@saalt.org for more infor­ma­tion.

Get Ready for Be the Change 2009 - National Day of Service!

BTC09What are you doing on Saturday, October 3rd?

1) Host a Be the Change event on your campus — If your cam­pus tra­di­tion­al­ly hosts a Be the Change event or if you would like to start one on your cam­pus, please fill out this form by May 30th and we will send you a planning guide and connect you to the national event.

2) Host a Be the Change event in your city- Join or start a plan­ning team in your city. As a mem­ber of the plan­ning team, you will be coor­di­nat­ing ser­vice events, recruit­ing vol­un­teers, and con­nect­ing with oth­er plan­ning teams around the coun­try. Please fill out this form by May 30th and we will connect you with others in your city who are interested in planning a Be the Change event.  Our core cities this year are: Wash­ing­ton DC, New York City, South Bay, San Fran­cis­co, Atlanta, and Boston. We also wel­come oth­er cities to hold Be the Change events.

3) Join SAALT as a National Partner for Be the Change- If your orga­ni­za­tion, pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tion, or youth group would like to part­ner with SAALT, local­ly or nation­al­ly, please email us at btc2009@saalt.org by May 30th.

South Asian Summit Roundup

summitDid you miss the Summit?

  • Lis­ten to pod­casts of the ses­sions here
  • View pic­tures from the Sum­mit here
  • Hear from par­tic­i­pants in Sum­mit Snap­shots here
  • Read entries from the SAALT Spot about the Sum­mit here

Make A Donation to
Support SAALT's Work in 2009 Today!

Are you a SAALT mem­ber yet?


If not, we urge you to become a member today. By becom­ing a SAALT mem­ber, you not only receive ben­e­fits (such as our annu­al newslet­ter and dis­counts at events and gath­er­ings), but the sat­is­fac­tion of being part of a nation­al non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that address­es civ­il and immi­grant rights issues fac­ing South Asians in Amer­i­ca.

Do you know some­one who would be inter­est­ed in learn­ing about SAALT? For­ward them this email by click­ing here:

Forward this email


South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to fos­ter­ing full and equal par­tic­i­pa­tion by South Asians in all aspects of Amer­i­can civic and polit­i­cal life through a social jus­tice frame­work that includes advo­ca­cy, coali­tion-build­ing, com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tion, and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

One “Be the Change” Volunteer’s Experience Registering Voters in NY

Read this post from Parth Savla, Be the Change Vol­un­teer in New York City:

On Oct 4, I had the plea­sure of par­tic­i­pat­ing in SAALT’s Be The Change event by vol­un­teer­ing with Chhaya CDC, locat­ed in Queens, NY on their Vot­er Reg­is­tra­tion dri­ve.  It was a great a expe­ri­ence street can­vass­ing – going up to South Asians and ask­ing them to reg­is­ter to vote.  I was real­ly sur­prised by how many peo­ple were com­pelled to vote for the first time in their lives.  In addi­tion to spread­ing the word about the impor­tance of vot­ing, we were also edu­cat­ing peo­ple on the pub­lic advo­ca­cy work that Chhaya does – pro­vid­ing every­thing from legal ser­vices to grass­roots com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment.


Sup­port­ing the vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, I believe, impact­ed the com­mu­ni­ty on a vari­ety of lev­els.  It enabled those who want to make a dif­fer­ence but don’t know where to go, by pro­vid­ing them access to do so.  Deep down, every­one wants to make a dif­fer­ence and sup­port each oth­er, but are often sti­fled by a lack of knowl­edge in how to do so.  By being out there, it pro­vid­ed greater acces­si­bil­i­ty to folks while help­ing them real­ize that they have cham­pi­ons stand­ing for them. 


Street can­vass­ing, I recall fight­ing my reser­va­tions about going up to one passer­by and say­ing:

“Uncle, have you reg­is­tered to vote for this year’s elec­tion?”

 

“No, I have nev­er vot­ed.  Why would it mat­ter?  I’m only one per­son” he replied in his bro­ken accent.

“Do you have chil­dren, uncle?  Are they in school or look­ing for a good pay­ing job or look­ing to get a loan for a house?”

        “Yes.” 

“Uncle, vot­ing in this year’s elec­tion will enable you to vote for the poli­cies that will not only affect their abil­i­ty to do those things, but also to safe­guard your retire­ment.  I can under­stand that you haven’t vot­ed before, nei­ther had my par­ents before this year,” I said empa­thet­i­cal­ly.

“Oh, I did­n’t know it made that much of a dif­fer­ence,” he said as he filled out the vot­er reg­is­tra­tion form.  Once he was done, he took a few more forms to take back to his fam­i­ly.

        “Thank you young man.”

By see­ing you make a dif­fer­ence, they also get inspired to make a dif­fer­ence!  


I want­ed to par­tic­i­pate in “Be the Change” this year because of see­ing the dif­fer­ence that SAALT had made in our col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts dur­ing our YJA (Young Jains of Amer­i­ca – www.yja.org) Con­ven­tion this past July 4th week­end, and being inspired by the pub­lic advo­ca­cy work they’ve done for the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty.  For SAALT’s “Be the Change” efforts this year, they’ve been able to mobi­lize thou­sands of vol­un­teers nation­wide to sup­port count­less projects for the com­mu­ni­ty.  That’s a pret­ty incred­i­ble feat!I was par­tic­u­lar­ly inspired about their Vot­er Reg­is­tra­tion dri­ve, because this the most impor­tant pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of our life­time.  There are many things at stake from our econ­o­my – being able to get loans for col­lege, to get­ting a good job when enter­ing into the job mar­ket – to edu­ca­tion, to retire­ment ben­e­fits for our par­ents.  Being a South Asian Amer­i­can, it was a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak to elders in our com­mu­ni­ty about the impor­tance of vot­ing in this year’s elec­tion and enabling their voic­es to be heard.

I knew that being part this event would not only enable me to make a dif­fer­ence but also meet cool peo­ple who shared a sim­i­lar goal to make a dif­fer­ence.  While one per­son can make a impact, many peo­ple who share a col­lec­tive voice and vision can make an expo­nen­tial impact!

Over 2,000 people volunteer for Be the Change on October 4th!

On Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 4, 2008- over 2,000 vol­un­teers from around the coun­try par­tic­i­pat­ed in SAALT’s annu­al day of ser­vice, Be the Change. As the Nation­al Be the Change Coor­di­na­tor, it was excit­ing to see many indi­vid­u­als from cities and cam­pus­es around the coun­try involved in this great cause- vol­un­teers from over 40 cities and cam­pus­es par­tic­i­pat­ed nation­wide! Atlanta, Boston, Bay Area, Wash­ing­ton D.C., New York, Philadel­phia, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cen­tral Flori­da, Texas A&M Uni­ver­si­ty- Col­lege Sta­tion and more joined in on this effort!

For the past 5 months, indi­vid­u­als around the coun­try vol­un­teered their time to plan and imple­ment this event in their city or cam­pus. These indi­vid­u­als are a tes­ta­ment to the change occur­ring in the coun­try and their role in Be the Change tru­ly exem­pli­fied Mahat­ma Gandhi’s prin­ci­ple of ‘be the change you wish to see in the world”. Of course, we can’t for­get the won­der­ful vol­un­teers who came out on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing because of their belief in the impor­tance of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and chang­ing their com­mu­ni­ty.

This year, Be the Change vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ed in activ­i­ties such as revi­tal­iz­ing local parks in East Brunswick, New Jer­sey; pack­ag­ing books for pris­on­ers in Wash­ing­ton, DC; restor­ing the bay in San Fran­cis­co; and work­ing with men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly dis­abled chil­dren in New York and much more.

I would like to chal­lenge every­one to let Be the Change be the first step. I chal­lenge you to let this not be a day of ser­vice but a life of service- whether it be at your cam­pus or uni­ver­si­ty, in your work­place, with your friends or fam­i­ly, by vol­un­teer­ing or by cre­at­ing your own orga­ni­za­tion- I chal­lenge all of you to car­ry on this prin­ci­ple of being the change wher­ev­er you go and in what­ev­er you do. I hope to see you ‘being the change’ for many years to come!

-Ramya Pun­noose, Nation­al Coor­di­na­tor of Be the Change ’08

Are you ready to “Be the Change” on Saturday, October 4th?

SAALT is gear­ing up for Be the Change 2008 and we want­ed to thank all of our plan­ning teams and local vol­un­teers who have worked so hard over the past few months to plan for this nation­al day of ser­vice! Be the Change, for­mer­ly known as the Nation­al Gand­hi Day of Ser­vice, is coor­di­nat­ed by SAALT along with vol­un­teers around the coun­try. This year, we are excit­ed that the event will be held in over 60 cities and cam­pus­es! You can find a full list of the cities and cam­pus­es here.This year’s theme for Be the Change is “Sol­i­dar­i­ty in Ser­vice” and we want to encour­age all of our vol­un­teers to keep this theme in mind when they are vol­un­teer­ing this year. This theme reflects the way com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice can build coali­tions, strength­en rela­tion­ships, and bring about sol­i­dar­i­ty among peo­ple of dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

Exam­ples of ser­vice sites this year include:

Books to Pris­ons: Vol­un­teers will be read­ing let­ters from pris­on­ers, select­ing books that match their request, and pack­ag­ing the books to send the pris­on­ers (Wash­ing­ton DC)

Hands on Atlanta Vol­un­teers will be build­ing wheel­chair ramps, men­tor­ing indi­vid­u­als in com­put­er skills, and more. (Atlanta)

Ronald McDon­ald House: Vol­un­teers will pre­pare a meal for, and serve fam­i­lies whose chil­dren are seri­ous­ly ill and receiv­ing treat­ment at near­by hos­pi­tals. (San Fran­cis­co)

Kids Enjoy Exer­cise Now (KEEN): Vol­un­teers will be con­duct­ing recre­ation­al activ­i­ties for kids in the pro­gram who have are men­tal­ly or phys­i­cal­ly chal­lenged. (New York City)

Boston Health­care for the Home­less: Vol­un­teers will be

 

work­ing with patients by lead­ing activ­i­ties like games, crafts, enter­tain­ment, etc.These are just a mere few ser­vice sites that Be the Change vol­un­teers will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year. Stay tuned for an update about how Be the Change went and how you can con­tin­ue your com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment.