(Artesia, CA) On Friday, November 19, 2010, at 10 am, South Asian community members gathered to hear numerous community stories presented at South Asian Network’s instrumental launch of our new report, “From Displacement to Internment,” in the heart of Los Angeles’ “Little India.” SAN held the press conference to share the pattern of human rights violations experienced by South Asians in Southern California over the last 20 years.
Told by South Asian immigrants in their own words, these stories seek to present a more holistic account of daily-lived experiences of the most vulnerable community members, low-income workers, undocumented immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, targets of Police abuse and many others whose “American Dream” have turned into an “American Nightmare.”
Hamid Khan, SAN’s outgoing executive director, Susan Alva, Report Author of the Migration Policy and Resource Center at Occidental College, Rizwana Shaheen, survivor of domestic and state violence, Farhana Shahid, SAN Staff member and community member in the report experiencing racial profiling, and Manjusha Kulkarni, SAN’s new executive director, all spoke out about these many human rights violations.
Hamid Khan stated, “this report reveals how on both the Global and Local levels, the US government has failed to protect and uphold very basic standards of human dignity and security. Over the last 20 years SAN has been on the frontlines to expose and challenge such violations.”
Susan Alva noted that “the stories, spanning across the Greater Los Angeles area’s South Asian community, demonstrate that while most “human rights language” gets limited to constitutional rights and due process debate, the deeper emotional impact that affects our community members to the core remains unsaid.”
Rizwana Shaheen moved the crowd with her own experience where police came into her apartment unexplained and asked her about her joint child custody order because her ex-husband who committed domestic violence complained about her. When the police did not listen to her explanation, they grabbed her arm and in front of her children.
Farhana Shahid also shared a story where, almost ten years after 9/11, she still fears experiences of racial profiling for her children, based on her own immediate experiences of being profiled at the DPSS offices.
The stories we share – only some out of hundreds – all convey how South Asian communities and communities of color have been criminalized, punished and yet dealt with emotional trauma through resilience. As we celebrate SAN’s 20th anniversary year, our hope is that this report is a living document to build bridges and draw parallels with histories of other similarly situated communities and build towards a just and equitable society.
To request a copy of the report email email@example.com.