Sonal “ScrShah, a pre-med major in college who graduated and moved on to become Dr. Sunny Dey on the television show “Scrubs,” emceed the evening, which included a gourmet Indian buffet and dancing to Bollywood hits and remixes of Bollywood classics, as well as hip-hop provided by Dhamaka DJ. The USC Trojan Bhangra team performed for an audience of about 300 guests.
The gala event raised more than $50,000, with the proceeds supporting SAN’s core programs: Voices Against Violence, which empowers survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse; Community Health Action Initiative, which promotes healthy living from newborns to grandmothers; and the Civil Rights Unit that organizes the community to reduce hate crimes, discrimination and racial profiling.
The gala also honored Puneet V. Kakkar of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, and Special Service Groups Older Adults Programs for their significant contributions to the South Asian American community.
As president of the SABA Public Interest Foundation, Kakkar helped to establish a citizenship clinic program, which utilized the skills of South Asian attorneys. As a private attorney, the Indian American provided legal assistance to SAN clients.
The SSG Older Adults Program paved the way for SAN to provide extensive mental health therapy as well as case management for SAN clients. Guidance from SSG enabled SAN staff to create an older adults program within the organization that offers hundreds of hours of free services to South Asian clients.
“We were blessed with another gorgeous evening at the LA River Center,” said the chair of the SAN Board of Directors, Sanjay Chhugani. “Sonal Shah and the USC Bhangra Team provided fantastic entertainment for our guests. And what made the evening really meaningful was learning about SAN’s work and how their dedicated staff served hundreds of members of our community every year.”
Manjusha Kulkarni, SAN’s executive cirector, noted, “The staff and I could not do this important work without the support of our Board of Directors, our Council of Advisors, numerous volunteers and our very generous corporate and community sponsors. And, we are especially grateful for all of our individual donors. Several individuals have told me that this year was financially difficult for them, but they still made significant contributions to SAN because our services are so vital to the community.”
At an earlier event last month, SAN, the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, and the South Asian Helpline and Referral Agency collaborated for the fifth year to honor domestic violence survivors, congratulate advocates, empower victims, and mourn the deaths of those who lost their lives to domestic violence.
October was recognized as a national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The South Asian American community came together on Pioneer Blvd. and learned about how to build healthy families and where to find supportive services.
In addition, SAN engaged the community in a discussion of what a healthy relationship looks like in an art project.
This activity assisted the South Asian American community to engage with advocates, discuss how violence can hurt not only the victim but also the perpetrator, their children and the society at large, and to seek assistance for those in need through culturally and linguistically appropriate resources and referrals.
Nandita came from India less than a year ago and lives in the United States with her husband and two children. After moving here, her husband began demanding that Nandita dress differently in jeans and t-shirts. She felt uncomfortable and embarrassed showing her arms and wearing tight jeans. If she didn’t dress properly, he would criticize her and make fun of her in front of everyone. After work the husband would come home and yell at her for not keeping the house clean enough and demanding she remake the food since it wasn’t tasty.
As the ten year anniversary of September 11th approaches, there will be many stories in the mainstream media, covering broader memories of the national tragedy, mourning the loss, and evaluating where the U.S. is today. SAN wants you to keep in mind the impact of 9/11 on the South Asian American community in Southern California.
In the past decade, South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh community members continue to be the targets of xenophobia and racism reminiscent of the days and months immediately after 9/11. Community members experienced increased levels of hate crimes, bullying, and surveillance. Some stories include a young Sikh man denied the opportunity to walk with his high school graduating class because of his turban; a woman denied employment because of her hijab; and a local leader with 800 pages of FBI surveillance documents on him for no other reason than he is Muslim.
Los Angeles , CA : The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) Jan 27 announced that a federal jury awarded $1.7 million to the family of a 21-year-old autistic Muslim man for his fatal shooting by a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer in 2008.
CAIR-LA Staff Attorney Ameena M. Qazi, with attorney Olu Orange, Mann and Cook Law Offices and the Disability Rights Legal Center filed a lawsuit in 2009 on behalf of the family of the victim, Mohammad Usman Chaudhry. The suit was filed against former LAPD officer Joseph Cruz and the LAPD for claims including wrongful death and excessive use of force, and against Los Angeles County for the failure to notify the Chaudhry family of their son’s death for three weeks. Tenets of the Islamic faith require burying a body within three days of death.
While Koreatown is home to a diverse 70% working poor, 70% immigrant communities seeking affordable housing, safety and healthy lives, the L.A. Times covered the recent development in naming 4 blocks of Koreatown as “Little Bangladesh.” Check out our new E.D. Manju Kulkarni’s quote.
(Artesia, CA) On Saturday, July 10th, 2010, about forty community members including youth and elders gathered on the streets of Pioneer Blvd. to seek months of back pay for workers at several businesses.
Many South Asian community members shop on Pioneer Blvd. and depend upon the over forty restaurants and grocery stores for food and supplies. People come to Pioneer Blvd. for miles to feel a sense of home and belonging to the South Asian community.