More than 150 individuals working with underserved South Asian community members gathered in Washington D.C. between March 16th and 18th for a national convening of South Asian community-based organizations, advocates and community members cosponsored by South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT) and the South Asian Law Students Association at American University, Washington College of Law.
Representatives of nearly 40 organizations providing a range of services, as well as individual advocates from Atlanta, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, attended the conference. The Summit marked the first time that many of the community-based groups met with national policymakers or with others involved in similar work throughout the country.
"It was really great to meet on the Hill and realize that there is a space for us to share our needs and demands," said Padma Rangaswamy, from the South Asian Policy and Research Institute in Chicago, who attended a congressional briefing at Capitol Hill.
At the congressional briefing, Representative Mike Honda, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, emphasized the importance of South Asian involvement and visibility in influencing decision-makers at the national level, and leaders from the South Asian Network (Los Angeles), the Sikh Coalition (New York City), and Apna Ghar (Chicago) spoke about emerging issues in their local communities.