|Proof that I've always been nuts, here is me hosting and being a crazy cat lady at 1 in the morning|
All of which I left behind. In my first few months in the Bay Area, I was excited but pretty lost. I had no idea how I would reconnect back to activism. How I would reconnect with no connection, with no friends or contacts to guide my way.
Now three years later I really could not be busier (seriously). These past three weeks have for me, been a whirlwind of that pretty sums up where I am in my work and activism right now. Last weekend I was asked to present a workshop at the ASPIRE empowering migrants conference at UC Berkeley. It was a conference with a focus on immigration and undocumented migrants. I have to say I had a great time, there's nothing I love better than talking for an hour (jk...sorta). My workshop was on how to utilize social media to tell our stories and how those stories can impact the issue on higher levels. My dear friend, Javier was there to record it, so maybe I will be able to post it up if I don't sound too crazy.
The cool thing about the panel was how the participants opened up about their own personal stories and what part immigration has played in their lives. In all the work I do, connecting with people is probably my favorite part. Everyone starts off as a stranger, but it's cool to get bits and pieces of someones background, of why they are passionate and why they want to see change. My parents were immigrants who came to this country due to sibling sponsorship (something that is being thrown out in the new Immigration Reform Bill) and my boyfriend, Roberto immigrated to the US first as an undocumented immigrant due to escaping the genocide in El Salvador, then become a Resident Alien for years before getting his citizenship by serving in the Marines. Our immigration stories fuel my passion behind this issue, and presenting in a workshop and continuing advocacy on thus is not just a social justice cause to me, it is my own story and the story of people I love.
Immigration was also a central point at the 2013 SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) In Pursuit of Justice Summit, which I attended 2 weeks ago. I covered the last SAALT summit in previous postings, here and here (it was two parts because it was awesome and because I love SAALT). I have been involved with this organization since 2008, so almost 5 years and what amazes me is not only the incredible work they do for the South Asian community throughout the country, but how it has also helped me create a national community; a community of activists, friends, mentors and people I honestly consider a huge brown family (and if you know anything about brown families, you know they are HUGE). I don't know if other organizations have that personal feel while being such an influential and active organization. My friends and fellow activists and I got to hug, catch up and follow up with the amazing developments in our lives and organizations. For example, I caught up with my friend Javaid Tariq, the co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Javaid is someone I met at the last summit, and is now a dear friend who buys me pizza when I'm in Queens =). His organization is expanding rapidly, and making efforts to open union chapters in cities all over the country, it is inspiring to see the progress they have made and are making! I was also happy to be part of a pretty impressive showing of California-based activists, the Bay area rolled pretty deep this time, and it's great to see the West Coast come in to become increasingly involved with a greater South Asian based movement.
|A nice little picstitch of my kickass South Asian activism weekend|
|With fellow activists outside of the Capitol|
I barely had time to catch my breath during this DC trip, especially since the weekend before I had spent the entire weekend in Sacramento for the State Democratic convention. I was a proxy delegate there (every State Assembly district has a delegates to represent their area to the state convention). That was also an interesting weekend, though understandably not even close to being as crazy as the Democratic National Convention, which to this day is one of the craziest things I have ever been a part of (crazy in a good way of course ;-) ). At the convention, I was pretty stoked to be elected as Northern California Secretary of the API caucus and was also elected as the Director of Communications for the California Young Dems Muslim American Caucus.
|Also I drank apple juice with Congressman Mike Honda during karaoke woohoo!|