Community Members Voice Local Needs

New York, NY: On March 19, 2005, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), a national non-profit organization, convened a group of twenty community leaders representing different generations, ethnicities and religious affiliations in Edison, New Jersey. The dialogue in Edison marked the beginning of a year-long program called the SAALT Exchange, which will bring together community members for half-day dialogues about emerging issues affecting South Asians and strategies to address them.
“New Jersey was a natural place to launch the SAALT Exchange,” said Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT. With 190,000 South Asians in the state, New Jersey has a high number of elected and appointed South Asian government representatives, as well as a growing community of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The SAALT Exchange drew organizational representatives as well as individuals who are interested in becoming more involved in the community. Maneesha Kelkar, the Executive Director of Manavi, the oldest domestic violence organization serving South Asian women, noted, “The SAALT Exchange was a positive first step towards connecting with a broader immigrant rights movement.”


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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