Twenty Years of Community, Justice, and Transformation
(Artesia, CA) On April 10th, 2010, one hundred and fifty South Asian Network (SAN) community members, staff, board members, and community partners gathered throughout the evening to commemorate years of services, support, and justice for the South Asian community.
South Asian Network is a community organization that, for twenty years, has sought the health empowerment and solidarity of persons of South Asian origin in a multiethnic Southern California.
Founded on April 10th, 1990, SAN started out “asking the community what our needs were” said current Executive Director Hamid Khan. “Back then, we would host meetings in people’s apartments with community members seeking to address health, workers’ rights, immigration and domestic violence.”
Now, the organization has grown from a volunteer-run organization based out of people’s homes to our current office on 18173 Pioneer Blvd in the heart of “Little India” with 16 staff and comprehensive services and community organizing.
Several founders of the organization Asad Zaidi, Pam Grewal, Tasneem Ebrahim, Zul Surani, Binna Chahal and Hamid Khan reflected at the event on the ways SAN has been able to support the community in the many changes that have occurred throughout the past 20 years, especially during critical times of Post-9/11 surveillance, profiling and hate crimes.
Staff member Joyti Chand, who has been at SAN since 2002, noted how “SAN has successfully built trust with community members and created programming to promote healthy behavior practices, youth and elderly issues, and queer visibility, while challenging workers’ rights abuses, hate crimes, tenants’ rights violations, and domestic violence cases.”
Board President Manju Kulkarni, who started with SAN as a volunteer legal advisor, also added “SAN is an organization that I hold dear, a place I can come to make changes and address systemic issues.”
SAN celebrated its anniversary with performances from the talented musician, Manisha Shahane, who performed 3 songs, one from her new album to release this month.
Additionally, an older adult member, Sudha Mehta, joined SAN staff in their “dance for health.”
Lastly, filmmaker Amyn Kaderali spoke at the event to introduce his collaborative Public Service Announcement with the AWAZ Anti-Violence Unit on violence prevention. The PSA will formally release in May 2010.
Longtime community member, Shiela Dass, explained, “This event is my community, Congratulations to SAN – they are always there for me.”