Tag Archives: national coalition of south asian organizations

South Asians Hit Hard by COVID Need Help

As the death rate from COVID 19 in the US spirals toward 100,000, one fact is alarmingly clear. While the virus severely affects seniors and people of all ages with serious underlying medical conditions, it has hit communities of color the hardest.

“South Asians are suffering across the country on a level we haven’t ever seen,” says Lakshmi Sridaran, Executive Director of SAALT, in a recent call to action to the community.

Minority communities are more at risk because long standing disparities in health, social, and economic status make them more vulnerable. Many South Asians work high risk jobs as healthcare workers, domestic workers and grocery store workers. South Asian workers are employed in meat processing plants, and as Uber and taxi drivers. As a result of the pandemic many face economic hardships and limited access to healthcare services or even proper protection while performing their jobs.

“So many have fallen sick. Too many have died,” adds Sridaran.

SAALT is responding to the crisis by facilitating the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations-direct service organizations that are doing critical work to support those most impacted by the pandemic:  They offer services to provide food, health and financial assistance to victims of the pandemic that include undocumented immigrants as well as domestic violence survivors.

Sridaran is urging all South Asians to support and uplift the hardest hit people in our communities at this challenging time.  Links are provided below.

 New York, the epicenter of the pandemic

New York, the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, has among the largest South Asian populations in the country. Community leaders are reporting that the official data on infection and fatality rates are inaccurate and don’t reflect their experiences.

Many South Asians in Queens and the Bronx work as domestic workers, as drivers, in grocery stores, or delivering packages – without PPE or adequate healthcare. Those who are undocumented don’t even have access to government aid.

What’s more, so many community members are out of work, leading to a level of food insecurity not seen before. In response, community organizations and volunteers have shifted their work to set up mutual aid networks to deliver food and medicines and provide cash assistance and childcare.

Support them at Desis Rising Up and MovingAdhikaarSapna NYC

South Asian Domestic Violence Survivors

Community leaders from domestic violence organizations are especially worried about survivors. There’s been a drop in crisis calls – because survivors are trapped at home with their abusers and don’t have the space to make calls. And, many domestic violence shelters aren’t accepting people right now out of fear of COVID-19. Domestic violence organizations are delivering groceries, helping survivors apply for public benefits, and finding alternative shelter arrangements.

Support them at Daya Houston (TX)Raksha (GA), Maitri (CA),  Narika (CA)Asha Kiran (AL)Sahara (CA)South Asian Network (CA)Apna Ghar (IL)

South Asian Immigrants

People who are undocumented have no access to government aid or relief. South Asians in immigrant detention are stuck in crowded facilities where there have been reports of COVID-19 outbreaks and over 100 migrants could be deported back to India any day now. Even if released from detention many cannot afford the unduly high bonds. South Asians on H-1B and H-4 visas fear losing their jobs and falling out of status with dim prospects of finding another job in this uncertain economy. Immigrant rights groups are fighting these injustices at every level.

Support them at Bond Funds: Fronterizo Fianza Fund, SAALT’s local partners on the border: Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee and Avid in the Chihuahua Desert, Mutual Aid Funds: South Dako­ta DREAM Coali­tion & South Dako­ta Voic­es for Peace and Jus­tice for Mus­lims Col­lec­tive Com­mu­ni­ty Relief Fund

These organizations are doing “lifesaving work right now” says Sridaran.

Click on the link for a full list of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations.


Image Credit: Pixabay 

New Leadership at SAALT

SAALT recently announced the appointment of new Executive Director Lakshmi Sridaran who previously led SAALT’s policy and legislative agenda for four years. Simran Noor, an expert in philanthropy, movement building, and organizational development will now serve as  SAALT’s new Board Chair.

Lakshmi Sridaran comes to the Executive Director role at SAALT with 15 years of experience working in nonprofits. She 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.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead SAALT after being grounded in our communities and the issues we confront during the last five years. I look forward to helping strengthen our movement and shift narratives within and about South Asian American communities,” said Lakshmi.  

 As SAALT’s Interim Executive Director in the past year, she played a crucial role managing the organization’s operations and infrastructure while simultaneously leading on policy and campaigns. 

Before that Lakshmi served as Director of National Policy and Advocacy at SAALT on core issues including immigration, racial profiling, and combating hate violence at the federal level. During this time she worked with national and regional partners including the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations to build movements for justice across communities of color.  Lakshmi expanded the scope of SAALT’s coalition partners at the local and national levels, and facilitated 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.

Simran Noor currently runs her own strategy firm and works with organizations to institute processes and programs to achieve racial equity. She has over a decade of experience working in the public policy and nonprofit worlds to advance racial, social and economic justice. 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 bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Political Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a master’s degree in Public Administration and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served on the SAALT Board since 2017. 

“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. 

SAALT, a national, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the US, will celebrate its 20 anniversary in 2020.