From Silos to Solidarity: Learning from 2017’s Resistance Movements

From Silos to Solidarity: Learning from 2017’s Resistance Movements

Dear WTSA Family,

As we begin another year of resistance, what can 2017’s movements teach us about solidarity practices? I wrote this essay on Medium, which might be useful for organizers, activists, and those supporting resistance movements. Please provide feedback about what I’ve missed here, and what your experiences have been around solidarity and resistance movements.

Here’s an excerpt:

The changing racial demographics of the United States and the pushback on the rights of communities of color demand that we transition from organizational silos to community-based solidarity. As we assess our resistance in 2017 and prepare for another year of fighting back inhumane policies, we should rely upon solidarity practice as an important strategy in the activist toolbox. But, we must also sharpen our solidarity work: we must move beyond race as the single and sole organizing force to bring communities together; we must work within our own communities to lovingly challenge biases as we proclaim unity with other movements; and we must ensure that we are not caught in a cycle of rapid response and emergency postures that end up harming our own people and organizations.

For more please visit: From Silos to Solidarity: Learning from 2017’s Resistance Movements

Listen to Solidarity: Our Community is Our Campaign

Listen to Solidarity: Our Community is Our Campaign

Dear We Too Sing America Community:

Please listen to the November 2017 episode of Solidarity is This, which features a conversation with M. Adams and Kabzuag Vaj, the co-directors of Freedom, Inc, a non-profit organization in Madison, Wisconsin that organizes Black and Hmong communities.

Be sure to check out the accompanying syllabus for the newest episode.

For more, please visit: https://www.solidarityis.org/podcasts

Listen to the Solidarity Is This Podcast

Listen to the Solidarity Is This Podcast

Dear We Too Sing America community: I’m so excited to share with you my new monthly podcast called Solidarity Is This. On each episode, my guests and I tackle questions about how to build multiracial solidarity in this particular moment in the American story.

Solidarity. It’s become a buzzword. But what does solidarity mean in reality? What are solidarity values and how do we center them? And how do we go about practicing solidarity, as activists, as organizations, as people who care deeply about building inclusive schools, campuses, workplaces and neighborhoods?

Listen to the first episode, Bystander, Upstander and then head over to the Solidarity Is This website to listen to them all.

For more, please visit: https://www.solidarityis.org/podcasts

Reckoning with Trauma 16 Years After

Reckoning with Trauma 16 Years After

Published on Medium.



Dear WTSA Community: Each of us have our own experiences, insights and stories about 9/11. Many of you know that I’ve spent the bulk of my time in movement work focused on issues affecting South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh communities in post 9/11 America. On the 16th anniversary of 9/11, I wrote a personal essay on the toll of trauma on activists and organizations. I’d love your feedback or thoughts if you have a moment.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I probably haven’t dealt adequately with the impact of September 11th on my own life. In the days that followed 9/11, I had sprung into action, and I’m not sure that I ever stopped. Over the following decade and a half, I have borne witness to a litany of crises targeting our communities. I am not the only one.”

For more, please visit: https://medium.com/@dviyer/https-medium-com-dviyer-reckoning-with-trauma-16-years-after-sept11-98e063b6197e

Thank you in advance for reading and sharing.

Standing Up to Islamophobia in our Public Libraries

Standing Up to Islamophobia in our Public Libraries

Published in School Library Journal.

Public libraries have always played an important role in my life (and now in my seven year old’s!) and I’ve appreciated being able to bring We Too Sing America to public libraries. That’s why I was excited to write this article for the School Library Journal about how public libraries can create safe and brave spaces to stand up to Islamophobia and xenophobia, especially in today’s climate. Every public institution in America must be prepared to address the changing racial landscape and the racial realities that come with them.

There’s also a wonderful profile of the important work at Oakland Public Library accompanying the piece. I hope you’ll read and share.

For more, please see: http://www.slj.com/2017/10/industry-news/standing-up-to-islamophobia/#_

Airlines Are Policing the Bodies and Behavior of Women-of-Color Passengers

Airlines Are Policing the Bodies and Behavior of Women-of-Color Passengers

Dear We Too Sing America community:

I have been angry and appalled by the more recent experiences that women of color passengers are having on airlines and airports across the nation, though this has been happening for quite some time, and I wrote an essay about it at The Nation Magazine:

“In a time of #MeToo testimonials and in the midst of national conversations about misogyny and sexual violence, it is not surprising that many women of color resonate with Anila Daultazai and Tamika Mallory. Their experiences sting because they remind us that women and girls of color face judgment, devaluation, invisibility, and physical violence in every sector, from schools to workplaces to encounters with the police. We can’t view what happened to Daulatzai and Mallory in a vacuum either. Both incidents are tinged with the same Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, and anti-blackness that we see in our country through government policies and in hateful rhetoric.”

For more, please visit: https://www.thenation.com/…/airlines-are-policing-the-bodi…/

Please read and share, and continue to call upon the airlines and airline industry to make systemic changes.

And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…

Dear We Too Sing America Community! In early March, when We Too Sing America arrived in paperback, I pledged to give away 10 books – one to an individual and one to an organization of their choice. My publisher, The New Press, matched that giveaway so I’m excited to announce that 20 individuals and 20 organizations are receiving autographed and free copies of the book! To ensure that the book has the broadest reach possible, I also picked winners from 20 different states.

185 people entered the giveaway which surprised and thrilled me – thank you to everyone who entered for your support and interest in the themes of We Too Sing America.

The winners are …

Philadelphia, Pennyslvania

Hajer Alfaham

Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration at University of Pennsylvania

San Francisco, California

Ankita Rakhe

Bay Area Solidarity Summer

Austin, Texas

Sahil Solankee

Rice University Chao Center for Asian Studies (Houston)

Chicago Illinois

Priya Ghosh

Chicago Public Library

Seattle, Washington

Barb Chamberlain

YES Foundation of White Center

Alma, Michigan

Kate Blanchard

Alma College Dept of Religious Studies

Raleigh, North Carolina

Noor Abualhawa

Islamic Association of Raleigh

Denver, Colorado

Aditi Ramaswami

Asian Health Alliance of Colorado

Staten Island, New York

Catherine Ma

Kingsborough Community College Library, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Neeta Pardanani Connally

Ridgefield Public Library

Fairfax, Virginia

Harmeet Kamboj

Asian and Pacific Islander Studies Program at the College of William and Mary

Potomac, Maryland

Aleena Durrani

Islamic Center of Maryland, Gaithersburg MD

Birmingham, Alabama

Edward Still

St. Alban’s Episcopal Church

Portland Oregon

Joseph Santos-Lyons

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

Washington DC

Maryum Saifee

Next Wave Muslim Initiative

St. Louis, Missouri

Purvi Patel

Washington University Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Kay Bounkeua

New Mexico Asian Family Center

Louisville, Kentucky

Adelaide McComb

University of Louisville

Norman, Oklahoma

Amy Bradshaw

Norman Public Library

Princeton Junction, New Jersey

Brenda Deverell Cortez

Mercer County Library (Windsor, NJ)

CONGRATULATIONS! I’ll be emailing the winners soon with more details.

If you’d like to help get We Too Sing America to wider audiences, please contact me at deepa@deepaiyer.com.

Letter to The Revolution

Letter to The Revolution

I am sharing my Letter to The Revolution, with a focus on my younger South Asian sisters – and some thoughts on making choices, lifting each other up, and sparkling in this moment.

“To my younger South Asian sister-activist-warriors:

I see you. You’re outraged and determined. You are ready to build this resistance, to be on the frontlines, to give voice to the struggle. Because this is personal. It is about our people, our families, our communities, ourselves.”

Please read and share if it moves you!
And write your own letter – more at Letters to the Revolution.

What Happens After November 8th?

What Happens After November 8th?

The news of the plot in Kansas to bomb an apartment complex and mosque where 120 Somali refugees live and work didn’t get much mainstream media attention – but it should have as it represents a growing threat targeting Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities. I wrote about how Islamophobia didn’t start with this election and how it won’t end with it at The Nation.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to domestic terrorist threats whose targets are communities of color, immigrants, and refugees, or pretend that the divisive policies and rhetoric implemented and used by political leaders has little influence on public opinions and actions. The Kansas plot should be our national wake-up call that defeating Donald Trump on Election Day will not wipe away the momentum of hatred and bigotry that has emerged during this political season.”

Read more here.


We Too Sing America News (Fall 2016)

We Too Sing America News (Fall 2016)

It’s hard to believe that we are in September already! I’m writing with a quick update on We Too Sing America, and with an invitation to join a new effort to explore principles and practices of multiracial solidarity.

*I’m so excited to share that We Too Sing America has been selected for a 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. It’s such an honor to be among this group of authors: check out the entire list here.

*I’m hoping to meet many of you at We Too Sing America events and speaking engagements during the fall. Check out the calendar of events here. And if you’d like me to come and speak or do a workshop at your conference, on your campus, or in a community space, please contact me at deepa@deepaiyer.com.

*For the past month, I’ve been coordinating a new campaign called #SolidarityIs, which is an effort by national racial justice organizations to explore how we practice transformative solidarity. Check out our website at www.solidarityis.org and join us on Twitter (@solidarity_is). Our website contains resources, sample language for solidarity statements, and best practices of solidarity in action.

*Be on the lookout for author Marina Budhos’ new young adult novel, Watched, which will be released this fall. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to know more about the impact of issues such as surveillance on the lives of South Asian, Muslim and Arab youth.


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