About Deepa

About Deepa

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Over the course of two decades supporting social movements, I have played many roles: weaver, frontline responder, storyteller, and guide. My political and community homes include Asian American, South Asian, Muslim, and Arab ecosystems where I spent fifteen years in policy advocacy and coalition building in the wake of the September 11th attacks and ensuing backlash.

Currently, I lead projects on solidarity and social movements at the Building Movement Project, a national nonprofit organization that catalyzes social change through research, relationships, and resources. I conduct trainings, uplift narratives through the Solidarity Is This podcast, and facilitate solidarity strategy for cohorts and networks. Previously, I served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade, and have also held positions at Race Forward, the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, and the Asian American Justice Center.

My first book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (The New Press, 2015), chronicles community-based histories in the wake of 9/11 and received a 2016 American Book Award. I am excited that my second book, a guide based on the social change ecosystem map, is available in late 2022 (Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection is available here). I also have the honor of serving on the advisory council of the Emergent Fund.

I’m an immigrant who moved to Kentucky from Kerala (India) when I was twelve years old. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University. In my free time, I enjoy being a kid again with my son, sharing random tips about astrology with my patient friends, running, reading (latest: The Vanishing Half), and discovering a new series to binge (latest: Severance).