A Boundless Future, Together
By S. Nadia Hussain – Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
I have been a participant of the CEF convenings for a little over a year now as a member of ASATA, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action. For ASATA, the coming together of organizations at the grantee convenings — as well as our Immigrant Rights learning circle, which includes ASATA, Narika, AROC (Arab Resource and Organizing Center), Omid Advocates and African Advocacy Network — has been a very enriching experience and valuable resource for our work as an activist organization. Working alongside the diversity of groups has helped us, as an organization to look at our own framework of coalition building, organizing and spreading information in a way that empowers our communities.
Oftentimes, in activism, it can seem as if we are in isolated bubbles, fighting uphill battles that never end. In this cohort, I think we have seen that we are all a valuable piece of a larger puzzle, pieces that can come together for broader changes. ASATA as an organization feels empowered to know that we are part of a greater movement. We come together, in all of our differences and vast areas of work to address key issues within the context of Islamophobia, and it has taught us to be open to working with a variety of groups to gain strength in numbers and resources. For example, our Immigrant Rights Circle has increased public and community awareness by producing and distributing an AAMEMSA Immigrant Rights Coalition brochure outlining immigration issues affecting our communities, and held a well attended immigration workshop at the Islamic Center of Northern California.
The diversities within the group have helped us to hone in on the kind of changes we wish to see. I think that ASATA has learned to become more strategic by looking at the different actions that groups have taken within their own communities. If an initiative such as CEF can bring together so many seemingly different organizations under the banner of working towards a common cause and a common good, then the possibilities to make future change are boundless. The cohort has helped us to look beyond our borders and boundaries, whether it be on immigration, civil rights issues and organizing, we are a more enriched and deeper organization due to our experiences together.
[Editors Note: This is the third installment of the CEF Critical Collaboration series, from the perspective of one of CEF’s community partners – Nadia Hussain, ASATA member, Bangladeshi American activist and poet, and the South Asian political blogger for Hyphen Magazine. Parts 1 and 2 of the series can be found here – Laila Mehta – Director, Civic Engagement Fund]