Join We Too Sing America Conversations in May 2016

Already in 2016, We Too Sing America community conversations have occurred on campuses like the University of Berkeley, Towson University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Texas, at bookstores like Booksmith in San Francisco and Potter’s House in Washington DC, and at community centers like the Asian American Resource Center (Austin), the Nashville Public Library, Asian Americans for Equality, the Ursuline Arts Center (Louisville) and the Sri Ganesha Temple (Nashville).

Here’s a list of upcoming conversations in May. Please spread the word and join us! If you’d like to convene a conversation at your place of worship, with your youth group, on campus, at a government agency, at a corporate affinity group event or at your community center or local library, please email me at deepa@deepaiyer.com.

We Too Sing America Book Tour (MAY 2016)

(please click on links for more information or contact deepa@deepaiyer.com)

*May 1st at 6:30PM at the Beverley Hills Community United Methodist Church (Alexandria, VA) for Building Inclusive Community: An Evening of Dialogue and Dessert with Deepa Iyer

*May 5th at 7PM at the Asian American Writers Workshop in New York City: Intro to Islamophobia with Deepa Iyer, Yalini Dream, Aber Kawas and Hina Shamsi (all appearing in personal capacities)

*May 21st: I’m speaking on a panel with author, Chaitali Sen, at the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) annual literature festival. Check out the agenda here.

*May 25th: Presentation at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Asian Pacific American Heritage program.

*June 2nd from 6 to 8PM in Oakland: I’m in conversation with Ayoka Turner (Black Lives Matter) and Zahra Billoo (Council of Arab-Islamic Relations in the Bay Area) at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, and presented by the Oakland Public Library and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California as part of ‘Islam & Authors’.  There’s also a book club gathering on May 11th at 6:30PM for those who are interested – you can sign up here.

 

 

Join We Too Sing America Conversations in APRIL 2016

Already in 2016, We Too Sing America community conversations have occurred on campuses like the University of Berkeley, Towson University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Texas, at bookstores like Booksmith in San Francisco, and at community centers like the Asian American Resource Center (Austin), the Nashville Public Library, Asian Americans for Equality, the Ursuline Arts Center (Louisville) and the Sri Ganesha Temple (Nashville).

Here’s a list of upcoming conversations in April. Please spread the word and join us! If you’d like to convene a conversation at your place of worship, with your youth group, on campus, or at your community center or local library, please email me at deepa@deepaiyer.com.

We Too Sing America Book Tour (APRIL 2016)

(please click on links for more information or contact deepa@deepaiyer.com)

*April 5, Washington DC at the Potter’s House (7PM), hosted by the Advancement Project, South Asian Americans Leading Together and Many Languages, One Voice

*April 6, NYC, Ford Foundation conversation about Steve Phillips’ book, Brown is the New White

*April 11 in Wilmington, Delaware, hosted by South Asian Bar Association of Delaware (contact deepa@deepaiyer.com for information)

*April 12 in New York City, in conversation hosted by the Asian American Federation, with Kermit Roosevelt, Chris Kwok and Arun Venugopal

*April 27 in Philadelphia, hosted by the South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia

*May Sneak Peek! Join me, Hina Shamsi of the ACLU and Linda Sarsour of MPower Change for a conversation hosted by the Asian American Writers Workshop and the South Asian Bar Association of New York on May 5th in NYC!

 

 

 

Join We Too Sing America Conversations in March 2016!

Already in 2016, We Too Sing America community conversations have occurred on campuses like the University of Berkeley and the University of Texas, at bookstores like Booksmith in San Francisco, and at community centers like the Asian American Resource Center (Austin), the Nashville Public Library, and the Sri Ganesha Temple (Nashville).

Here’s a list of upcoming conversations in March. Please spread the word and join us! If you’d like to convene a conversation at your place of worship, with your youth group, on campus, or at your community center or local library, please email deepa@deepaiyer.com.

We Too Sing America Book Tour (March 2016)

(please click on links for more information or contact deepa@deepaiyer.com)

*March 2 at Towson University (in conversation with Shani Banks and Yves Gomes)

*March 7 at Brennan Center for Justice 

*March 18 at Asian American/Asian Research Institute of the City University of New York (in conversation with Zohra Saed)

*March 24th at Asian Americans for Equality’s Equality Fund Book Club (NYC)

*March 28th in Louisville, Kentucky at the Ursuline Arts Center

 

 

 

Booklist Includes We Too Sing America in Top 10 List of Multicultural Books

Pledge Postcards

 

Thank you, Booklist, the magazine of the American Librarians Association, for including We Too Sing America to the Top 10 Multicultural Non-Fiction Books of the Year! It’s simultaneously surreal and gratifying to share any ink space with writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sandra Cisneros. Please check out the full list – and read all these books at your local library! 

 

 

Five Steps Forward Towards Addressing Islamophobia and Xenophobia

When my book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future, was released in early November, I did not expect that the themes it addresses – the devastating impact of the national security policies, the daily phenomenon of anti-Muslim sentiment, and the growth of xenophobic narratives on communities in post 9/11 America – would come into such sharp focus as they have over the past month and a half.

In the wake of the heinous attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, we have witnessed the drumbeat of dangerous political rhetoric and a spate of attacks targeting Muslim, Arab and South Asian community members on streets and campuses, and at stores and places of worship. As we digest news about horrific hate crimes on a daily basis, as we begin to understand the impact of today’s climate on young Muslim, Arab, and South Asians, and as we read about the divisive rhetoric from those seeking political office, it is natural to feel discouraged.

At #WeTooSingAmerica community conversations from New York to Washington, DC to Chicago to Atlanta to Seattle, people have shared that they are experiencing a range of emotions these days, from frustration to hopelessness to outrage to sadness. That is exactly why what we do now matters: to come together, to speak up, to show up, and to do so in ways that center the experiences of Muslim communities in the United States.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of people ready and willing to do so, to explicitly say that “we are better than this.”  I’ve seen this firsthand at #WeTooSingAmerica community conversations, where people of all racial and faith backgrounds have been making pledges to talk about, take action on the issues and narratives facing Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities in post 9/11 America, and to influence others to do the same.

Culled from the responses from people around the country, and from the examples of positive actions already happening, below are five ways to take action now to demonstrate that it is vital – and possible – to point our country in an alternative direction: one based on a shared vision of respect, justice, equity, and solidarity.

[Want to add to this list and provide additional examples and best practices? Email deepa@deepaiyer.com or post up on the We Too Sing America facebook page].

  1. Statements Matter “I will ask my organization, my elected official, my place of worship to make statements of support and solidarity”

At this moment, strong statements that directly center and address xenophobia and Islamophobia are important in setting a different tone for our country. Here are some solid examples that you can use to make an ask of your local newspaper to write an editorial, your campus administrators for an official message from the President, your own organization or network, or your local elected official or City Council.

  • From City Agencies and City Councils

Nashville Metro Human Relations Commission

Seattle City Council Resolution

  •  From Campus Administration/Student Voices

Best practice tip: Ask university officials to consider sending a message to the entire campus community about the impact of today’s climate on Muslim, Arab and South Asian students, and to reiterate the campus’ anti-discrimination policies and commitment to inclusion. Ask student groups to stand in solidarity with Muslim Student Associations on campuses and centralize Islamophobia and xenophobia as key aspects of conferences, meetings, and programs in 2016. Examples:

Cal Poly Pomona

Eastern Coachella Valley Youth Speak Out Against Islamophobia after a nearby mosque reported being firebombed

  • From Allies and Organizations

National Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organizations speak out against bigotry at the Japanese American Memorial

Statement from Asian and Pacific Islander organizations in Washington State

  • From Editorial Boards

Detroit Free Press Editorial Board’s We Stand Together. We are better than Bigotry.

2. Prevention Matters: “As a parent, I am going to ask my school counselor and principal how they are planning to address bullying and bias against Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian students.”

We can attempt to stem the tide of hate violence and bias incidents in schools, communities and workplaces with three R’s in mind: ensuring that communities being targeted are aware of their rights; that government agencies and public stakeholders publicly articulate and vigorously enforce their responsibilities under anti-discrimination laws; and that resources are made available to assist communities in need.

Examples:

  • Ask your local civil and human rights commission to release in-language factsheets about the legal protections that exist on the basis of national origin and faith.
  • Ask your City Council to hold a hearing on the impact of today’s climate on Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities that reflects the voices and experiences of local community members and leaders.
  • If you are a parent, ask your school principal and counselors about their plans to ensure that policies and resources are in place to address bullying. Free resources from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments here

3. Conversations Matter: “I will have a conversation about race and Islamophobia with my colleagues at work”; “I will challenge my relatives who make anti-Muslim statements.”

The messiest and most difficult conversations are often the ones we have with the people in our closest circles of colleagues, family members and friends to raise awareness and shift viewpoints. Here are some resources to help shape those conversations that include questions and remarks such as “Aren’t all terrorists Muslims?” or “The Syrian refugees could be dangerous.”

Resources:

4. Supporting Organizations and Grassroots Efforts Matters:

Crisis response has been a daily phenomenon for groups working with Muslim, Arab, South Asian and Sikh communities, including local community-based organizations and places of worship in your area. This is an ideal time, as we close out the year, to make a donation to support their work.  While there are many amazing organizations to support (many are linked in the sections on this post or here), I’m highlighting two local ones that are particularly invested in organizing and base building.

5. Showing Up Matters:

Coming together with Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities for a press conference, a civic action, a march on campus or a solidarity event at a mosque sends a powerful message at this moment. Check out the links above for examples of events.

Prepare for or follow up on solidarity events with an awareness and strategy session with the membership of your own organizations and representatives of Muslim, Arab and South Asian groups.  Best Practice Tip: At all times, it is important to connect with and take the lead from groups working directly with MASA communities to reflect their voices and expertise on messaging.

[Want to add to this list and provide additional examples and best practices? Email deepa@deepaiyer.com or post up on the We Too Sing America facebook page].

 

We Too Sing America in Bookstores on November 3rd!

Thank you for stopping by! Here are some quick links and information about my new book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future. 

*What’s the Book About?  Race, demographics, power, communities of color, immigrants, post 9/11 America, and stories of young activists from South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh communities. More details here.

*Interested? Get Your Copy: Please purchase at an independent bookstore near you (ask them to order a copy if they don’t have one in stock) or online. You can also order via Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

*Come to a Book Talk:  Join me in conversation with local activists in New York City (11/10), Washington, DC (11/11), Baltimore (11/12), Chicago (11/17), the University of Michigan (11/19), Louisville, Seattle (12/1) and Atlanta (12/8), San Francisco (1/20/2016) and Austin (2/20/2016).

*Convene a Race Talk on your campus, city, community center or workplace: Contact Deepa at deepa@deepaiyer.com.

*Stay in Touch: Complete the form below to receive occasional dispatches from Deepa with resources, articles, and updates related to the themes in the book. Just indicate that you want to subscribe to my e-newsletter.

Thank you for your interest and support!

 

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What was really on trial in the Sureshbhai Patel case?

In early September, a jury in Huntsville, Alabama, began to hear testimony in the case of Eric Parker, a white police officer who faced federal charges for violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian immigrant and grandfather. On September 11th, the jury of ten white men and two Black women reached a stalemate in their deliberations for the third time, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. What happened during the trial should concern all Asian Americans and anyone working on police brutality cases.

The facts in the case against former Officer Eric Parker of the Madison, Alabama police department seemed fairly straightforward at first glance. In February of this year, Parker and another cop were in Mr. Patel’s suburban neighborhood to follow up on a 9-11 call from someone who claimed that a suspicious “skinny Black guy” was walking around. Officer Parker and his partner approached Mr. Patel. Their exchange, captured on dashcam video, shows that Mr. Patel could only utter a few words in English. Video footage also shows what happened next. Officer Parker performed what is known as a front leg sweep, throwing Mr. Patel onto the ground. Mr. Patel was hospitalized for months, and became partially paralyzed as a result.

Read more at Race Files.

 

Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock

The experience of Ahmed Mohamed — a Sudanese Muslim high school freshman who was suspended and arrested in Irving, Texas, after his teachers and administrators believed that a clock he made was a bomb — has caught America’s attention. Even President Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg weighed in, inviting Mohamed to the White House and Facebook, respectively. But these gestures, as sincere as they are, cannot by themselves counteract the reasons the incident happened in the first place: the pervasiveness of anti-Muslim bias in our country and the discriminatory application of school discipline policies against brown, Muslim and immigrant students.

Read more here at Al-Jazeera.

 

The Untold Narratives in Post 9/11 America

On the fourteenth anniversary of September 11th, I wrote a piece in The Guardian about the invisible and untold narratives that continue to exist.

“Most of the undergraduates in my courses on Asian- and South Asian American communities, were in kindergarten when the attacks of 11 September 2001 occurred, so they have lived in the reality of post-9/11 America for most of their lives.

But their ability to critically analyze our government’s policies and practices in the post-9/11 environment is limited, because the narrative about the day and its aftermath – lives lost; War on Terror triggered – excludes the stories of South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh communities in America and their ongoing experiences with hate violence, discrimination, government surveillance and profiling.”

Read more here.

Welcome!

Thanks for visiting my website! If you’d like to receive an occasional email about the issues dear to my heart – racial justice and South Asian and Asian American communities – please complete the form below.

About Me:

I’m a South Asian American woman, who was born in India and who immigrated to Kentucky when I was 12 . I’m an activist and advocate who has supported racial and immigrant justice movements for 15 years, most recently as the executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and now as Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI). Please visit the “About Deepa” link to learn more and to connect with me.

About this Website:

This website is a contribution to the body of practices, ideas, and resources that can help us shape and navigate inclusive and multiracial communities in America’s quickly transforming racial landscape. Much of the website’s information for the time being will be devoted to my new book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future, forthcoming from The New Press in November 2015.

Please look around the site to learn about how you can join the We Too Sing America book tour, get involved with race talks in schools, communities and campuses, and if you are interested, please peruse the archives for many of my reflections and musings on everything from Bobby Jindal to the National Spelling Bee.

Thank you for visiting! I hope to see you on the We Too Sing America book tour and to be in dialogue about how we can lift up experiences, voices, stories, and best practices for building more inclusive and multiracial communities in America. To receive an occasional email about the issues featured on this blog, please complete the form below!

 

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