What is SALAM?
In the subcontinent and the diaspora, we are in the throes of the rise of virulent ethno-nationalism and constant economic crises. Their impact is unequal within the diaspora: Immigrant South Asians living and working in the US have especially been afflicted. This hostile immigration climate emphasizes the critical need for a powerful resistance. A host of progressive organizations work to support South Asians in the US diaspora. Many of them struggle with funding, are stretched at capacity, and often on the lookout for pro bono work. This is a small step towards consolidating the activist movements of the South Asian Left: to unify struggles that feel scattered.
When we speak of the “Left,” we mean that we are situating ourselves in the history of struggles led by the working class/progressive forces to build a just and equitable society. These are the fights against moneyed classes, these are the fights against the domination of caste and religious fundamentalism, and these are the fights against the patriarchal order. Our aspiration is to make possible a humane and dignified life for everyone irrespective of class, caste, gender, or religion. The starting point for our social and political work is the analysis that capitalism cannot be reformed. We need to overthrow it.
We contribute to this lineage of struggles from the society that we know best: a South Asian one. The region has been fraught with a spectrum of political imaginaries—all bound in the regressive framing of the nation state. We seek to push beyond that. This is therefore our point of departure: to put our shoulder to the wheels of empowering immigrant-led organizations here, and supporting the formation of a leftist South Asian movement.
What We Do
We find ways to use our skills to support progressive organizations in their campaigns. We see our work as bolstering the broader immigrant movement by collaborating and strengthening existing organizations. Our focus is on South Asia and its diaspora - to help create power in these communities. SALAM will provide a medium for young South Asians to be political outside of protests, especially young people becoming politicized now.
We co-wrote an article on the crisis brought about by the neo-liberalization of the university in the United States, based on our organizing work at The New School. We worked with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance’s co-founder Mamnun Ul Haq's campaign for New York City Council to put together their policy briefs. We are part of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)’s national coalition of progressive South Asian organizations in the United States. With SAALT, we are currently working to create documentation and resources to support legal, advocacy, and service-oriented efforts at providing support for South Asian asylum seekers and immigrants without documents in the United States.
Some of the areas we work on, for supporting organizations:
Research: We conduct economic analyses and produce research reports.
Policy Briefs: We write policy briefs, analyses and technical documents related to enhancing educational and advocacy efforts.
Organization / Development Support: We write by-laws, grant applications, and provide writing support for growth and management.
Communication / Design: We provide support to enhance/create marketing and communication strategies. We do this by creatively working with organizations for producing visual and textual content for websites, social media, etc.