Like many of you, we are the proud children of immigrants who came to this country with the same hopes and dreams as other newcomers to the US: they sought opportunity and a brighter future for themselves and for their children. Our immigrant heritage has informed our years of hard work towards social justice.
Working with some of the rich constellations of grassroots organizations serving South Asian newcomers in the US has reaffirmed our belief in the importance of building strong and sustainable community-based groups. It has also reminded us we build a stronger voice for all our communities by working together and in alliance with other communities of color in our nation. Whether we’re speaking out against racial profiling and surveillance of our communities, engaging South Asians on the need for just and inclusive immigration reform, or developing our civic engagement capacity, we must do so under a big tent that holds through true to our values as South Asian Americans.
SAALT’s dream for our community is that South Asian Americans continue to play a critical role to work towards inclusive and responsible public policies in our nation on issues ranging from civil rights and xenophobia to immigration and gender equity. That is exactly what SAALT will keep doing in the coming years. We are thrilled to lead SAALT as we work to educate and engage our diverse communities on issues that affect us both directly and indirectly. You can continue to rely on us to provide incisive policy analysis and reports, opportunities to be involved in leadership programs and community forums, and a broader reach into South Asian communities around the country.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what we are planning in 2014: an organization-wide strategic planning process to ground our vision for the next three years; community town halls on immigration; campus workshops; leadership programs such as the Young Leaders Institute;SAALT Circles; and the growth of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO). Let us know how you would like to engage with us. There’s plenty of work to go around!
In fact, we are thrilled to announce that SAALT has expanded the NCSO to 49 grassroots partners strong. Since its founding in 2008, SAALT has been proud to coordinate the NCSO, a network of organizations that represent diverse constituencies and address critical issues. Today, our members are located in areas from Houston to Artesia (CA) to Chicago to Elmhurst (NY). They work with youth and seniors, LGBTQ communities, undocumented immigrants, and domestic violence survivors. Together, we can continue to build a strong policy voice and grassroots presence for South Asian American communities.
In the coming months, we hope to connect with many of you as SAALT travels around the country and participates in community town halls and meetings. More than anything, we want to hear from you about what you would like SAALT to be addressing in your communities. Please email Suman at email@example.com and follow her @SumanSAALT on Twitter.
We look forward to working with you toward a vision and future for all South Asian Americans that is expansive in its pursuit of equality and dignity while building the capacity of our communities and the organizations that strive to meet our needs.
With hope and solidarity!