Journey Through Non-Profit

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Deepa Iyer, former Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, SAALT: Those are fascinating experiences. I’ll bet you have a lot of stories.

Are there any anecdotes from those years?



Deepa Iyer

A few always stand out for me.


Journey Through Non-Profit: National Conference

In 2007, SAALT held our first national conference called the National South Asian Summit. It was the first time that we had about 150 people representing different South Asian organizations.

Students, community leaders and professionals come together to talk about issues.

How do we address civil rights? How do we address immigration? How do we address access to health?

I remember that first conference very well because it was put on by five people at SAALT.

It was a conference that stands out to me because I felt, for the first time, that we were really building this beloved community, this community of people that were connected to each other, that wanted to create some sort of social change.

There were moments in that summit that will always stand out for me.


Journey Through Non-Profit: Meeting Barack Obama

Another moment that stands out was a meeting with President Obama that I was fortunate enough to be part of in May of 2013.

He sat down for the first time at the White House with a group of national leaders representing Asian American organizations.

I had been asked to facilitate that meeting with the President. Being across the table from him and being able to directly engage him on issues that affect South Asians and Asian Americans was definitely a moment of privilege and honor.


Journey Through Non-Profit: Strength in Tradegy

There is a third moment that stands out for me, which also solidifies for me what SAALT can do.

I’m sure that you and the audience will remember the tragedy that happened at the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August of 2012.

There was a white supremacist who came in and targeted that community of worshipers.

I remember two pieces around that. One was being in Oak Creek a week or so after that incident had happened and being at the memorial service.

I was feeling the depth of that tragedy on the community there, but also on so many people around the country.


Journey Through Non-Profit: National Impact

Then there was a moment in Washington a few months later. I was standing with other organizations and allies as we held a press conference after a Congressional hearing on hate violence in the Senate and knowing that these are the issues that we need to stand up for.

These are the people that we need to be advocating for. Those are a few moments that stand out for me in the nine years.


Tell Us:

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The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Deepa Iyer

The entire interview transcript is at: Deepa Iyer NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Leading & Working at Non-Profits

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP Spotlight- Live Your Potential: Leading & Working at Nonprofits

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes