Progressive Inside n' Out
Walking Our Talk Within Our Organizations

Sunday May 23rd, 11:25am - 12:40pm.
California Institute of Integral Studies, 1453 Mission St. (at 10th), San Francisco
South Asian Progressive Conference, 2004

Given the dazzling spectrum of struggles in which progressive South Asians are engaged, we're apt to overlook the very issues we fight for, when it's closer to home. Sustainability, democracy, accountability, exploitation, peace - and power - how do we address these in our own organizations? What are the lessons learned? What are the challenges?

Join panelists in a discussion on means, ends, and creating the world we want en route to arriving at the world we want. Let's keep it real!

Participants include:

Birjinder Anant
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA)
Birjinder is one of 2 bearded coordinators of ASATA; their mission statement reads: "ASATA works to educate, organize, and empower the Bay Area South Asia communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation within and against our diverse communities." They have focused on hate crimes, gender violence, immigrant rights and other issues of social justice. Birjinder is currently working on a Masters in Economics at SF State, losing his self, and ways for people to have good food at hand while walking around.

Sabahat Ashraf, with Usman Qazi
Friends of South Asia
Sabahat and Usman are members of the Friends of South Asia, an organization that was formed in the Bay Area at a time of heightened danger of Nuclear War in the Subcontinent. Working through people-to-people contacts, dialog, and other non-violent, non-exclusionary means, FOSA works towards a demilitarized, nuclear-free South Asia; bringing together people with roots in various parts of South Asia, as well as other well-wishers of the region. A peaceful, prosperous, and hate-free South Asia is its declared mission. FOSA's members are a cross-section of ethnicities as well as political and cultural backgrounds from around South Asia. Sabahat himself is currently a technical writer based in Silicon Valley. He has a Bachelors' in Computer Systems Engineering from Karachi and a Masters' in Technical Communication from Rensselaer. Sabahat has worked as a journalist and human rights activist in Pakistan. He is also currently newsletter editor of the International Organization of Pakistani Women Engineers [IOPWE;].

Maulie Dass
South Asian Sisters
Maulie is a desi engineer in the South Bay (groan). Most of her colleagues are South Asian men, including her boss, HIS boss, and HIS boss. Hence it's understandable why she is one of the founders of South Asian Sisters and Yoni Ki Baat - she desperately needs a space in which she can breathe and be herself without scrutiny or judgement. Most of her politics stem from growing up in a Klan-controlled environment in Colorado, being in a gender-controlled environment at work, and a deconstruction-controlled environment inside her head.

Mini Kahlon (Convener & note taker)
Mini is a member of ASATA, and director of research and workplace programs at the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). As a volunteer social justice activist in the Bay Area for over a decade, she's worked within many different organizational structures, to facilitate creative expression, event production and political advocacy. Mini has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and if you ask her about the brain, you'll see that she's a geek at heart..

Nadia Khastagir
Design Action Collective
Nadia is a graphic artist at the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative based in Oakland which provides graphic communication services for social justice organizations. Design Action recently co-sponsored Designs on Democracy conference about design and communication for progressive organizing. Previous to Design Action, Nadia worked for CorpWatch, a corporate accountability group, and currently volunteers with the India Resource Center, a project of Global Resistance, on the website and the Coca-Cola Campaign.

Shaily Matani (Facilitator)
Shaily is currently on sabbatical from activism and social change/social justice work, but loves substative conversations and helpful insights, models that generate good dynamics (as well as good work), facilitation and training gigs, and talking back to her radio while working on projects at home. She was part of the crew that co-founded ASATA (way back when), and has done about a decade of anti-sexual-violence work, ranging from conducting workshops and anti-oppression trainings, to running direct service programs, to orchestrating fun n' educational interactive campaigns.

Part of Shaily's sabbatical involves searching for and piecing together a new praxis, her last one having given out. If you see a blue tinge on her face, it's 'cuz she's holding her breath and trusting that there's enough in her account to underwrite the process (and that maybe the universe will kick in a little to help cover the costs).

Asha Mehta
Revitalizing Education And Learning (REAL)
Asha is the program director for Revitalizing Education and Learning (REAL) at CES. REAL brings youth empowerment philosophies and strategies into public middle and high school classrooms around the Bay Area. In REAL classrooms, teachers and students work together to create learning environments and communities engaged in social change. Asha is a credentialed teacher, has a Masters in Education from Stanford University, and a long history of participating in social justice activism in the Bay Area. She is also getting married in less than a month!

Reva Patwardhan
California Peace Action
Reva is in her fourth year at California Peace Action (CAPA), a nonprofit advocacy organization that works on foreign policy. She has been a fundraiser for as many years, and is currently the Publications Director (a position fairly analogous to a Communications Director). For about five years, CAPA has been working to diversify its membership and staff. As part of this work, Reva and several of her colleagues have taken leadership in forming a People of Color Caucus, which focuses on both supporting and developing the roughly 20 organizers of color who are currently working at CAPA. Reva also volunteered with ASATA for more than a year.