Join Sakhi for South Asian Women for “Gender Justice + The Arts: An Asian-American Showcase” this July 31st at Bowery Poetry Club! Featuring an incredible line up of poetry, spoken word, performance, and music, this event brings together a group of Asian American women, trans, and nonbinary artists whose work explores the intersections between creative expression, gender identity, and politics. Join us for what will surely be an unforgettable night of community building and thoughtful exploration of the many facets of what makes us who we are. Tickets are $20 online or at the door. See you at Bowery!




Shuba Bala 
Shubha is an Indo-Canadian-New Yorker, and can be found complaining when it’s hot and when it’s cold. She’s an engineer, works in criminal justice reform, and is a creator of stories and arts & crafts. She founded Kalyani Magazine, has published prose, poetry and visual art in various magazines including Off the Coast and A Common Thread, has performed original work in the Vagina Monologues, Yoni Ki Raat 2016, Six Word Memoirs, and more, and is a Voices Of Our Nation (VONA) graphic novel alum. She co-directed Yoni Ki Raat 2017.

Bex Kwan 
Bex Kwan is a queer/trans chinese-singaporean multimedia artist who works in words, food, and performance. Their creative practice asks questions about family, faith, domestic labor, race, migration, and tenderness. Bex has been invited to present at theaters/galleries/ universities in Singapore and the US, including La MaMa and Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and was a part of EMERGENYC—the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program. More at

Riti Sachdeva 
Riti Sachdeva is a theatre maker, dancer, and cultural worker. She has been creating art in some shape, form, or rhythm for twenty five years, incorporating text, installation, and dance into her work. Born in India, she is deeply influenced by the vast land, history, mythology and people of her origins. Raised in the U.S., her work is marked by the social and political climate of the Americas.

Kai Williams 
Kai Williams is a fiction writer and spoken word poet based in New York City. Most recently, she received an Honorable Mention for her submission to the New York Times’ Modern Love college essay contest. She is a 2015 alumna of the National YoungArts Foundation, as a national finalist in writing. Her work has been published in The AmerAsia Journal, Pushing Past Limits: Young Writer’s Anthology published by VerbalEyze Press, For the Sonorous Magazine and Mask Magazine. She is also a founder and Executive Director of Eat At The Table Theatre Company, a non-profit theater arts organization for young actors of color.

Shriya Samavai 
Shriya Samavai is a photographer and poet of Indian descent living in New York City. She works to empower people of color and gender non-conforming people through her photographs and poems. She has written and photographed for publications including Vice, Rookie Mag, and The Huffington Post. In March 2017 she published her first chapbook ‘Somewhere Between Silver & Gold’, a collection of poetry on gender, religion, and dissociation. More

Dee Mandiyan 
Born and bred in Jersey, Dee aspires to bring new levels of queerness to everyday life, with the help of both their lady love and feline life partner. Their passion lies in expanding models of gender, racial, and sexual identity and simultaneously promoting more complex narratives of those intersections. They are especially invested in complicating the literature on multiply-oppressed communities through detailed and comprehensive contextualization. Much of their time is spent advocating and agitating for racial and queer justice through literature, education and social media.

Ashni Dave 
Ashni is a singer, songwriter & living-room-dancer. She is inspired by how individuals learn to build relationships to the self, to others, and to communities. The trials and errors of pain’s preciptations: reactions, responses, and lessons in healing guide my work. When we are hurt, how do we respond? With anger? Anxiety? Compassion? How sweet is the joy in connection! With soulful melodies, powerful lyrics and rhythmic current, heavy with jazz and R&B influence, she gracefully envelops listeners in a reflective, cathartic dimension. She is currently teaching, creating and performing in New York City. Her performance credits include Rockwood Music Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg, The Greene Space, Rough Trade, and more. Her music has been featured on Spotify’s Women of Jazz playlist, Bitch Media’s Podcast: Growing Up Immigrant, and the acclaimed, up-and-coming web series Brown Girls. More at

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Dear Allies,

In her email of last week, Shalini Somayaji shared that she will be bidding farewell to Sakhi for South Asian Women at the end of this month. In anticipation of this departure, the Board of Directors has been working with Shalini over the last few months to ensure a smooth leadership transition.  Shalini has been with Sakhi for 6 years: serving for the past two years as Executive Director and as Deputy Director for the four prior years.  We will all miss Shalini’s leadership along with her commitment to Sakhi’s mission, work, staff and volunteers.  Please join us in extending our thanks to her for the time she devoted to Sakhi and in wishing her the best of luck as she begins this new phase in her life.

We are excited to announce that we have concluded our extensive search for Sakhi’s new Executive Director, and on June 26th we welcomed Kavita Mehra into that role.  The Board and Kavita share a vision of enhancing and deepening Sakhi’s impact, and we look forward to partnering with her as we continue to grow our organization and work to ensure the voice of our community is heard.

Kavita’s experience is rooted in a career committed to organizations that build equity and advocate for justice — indeed her very first internship was with Sakhi.   Most recently, Kavita was the interim chief executive officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Newark (BGCN), where she was instrumental in managing the organization through a leadership transition and its successful stabilization. During her tenure at BGCN, among other things, Kavita oversaw an organizational restructuring, re-built BGCN’s program into a sustainable business model and spearheaded a rebranding campaign.  We look forward to her bringing her considerable skills to bear towards the further realization of Sakhi’s mission, particularly in regards to her entrepreneurial energy and fundraising experience.

The Board is committed to supporting Kavita in her new role, and we will be working closely with her to ensure that Sakhi continues to meet, and exceed, its mission. Please join us in enthusiastically welcoming Kavita back to our Sakhi community. In the coming weeks, she will be reaching out to many of you directly. In the interim, please feel free to contact her directly, either via email ( or by phone (212-714-9153, x 1002).

We would like to thank you: our supporters, champions and community for your steadfast partnership during this transition and beyond. We look forward to continuing our work in building justice and equity for the women and children we serve each and every day.


Meeta Anand

Board Chair

Sakhi for South Asian Women

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Dear Allies,
Hope your summer is going well so far! I’ve been dedicating time to reflection, both personally and professionally, as I wind down my time at Sakhi this month after six wonderful years, first as Deputy Director and now Executive Director. I’m a different person – a better one –  than the person who entered this organization. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing amazing resilience in the face of hardships, deepening my understanding about the importance of self-care in social justice work, and learning the power of the simple act of listening.

While we were preparing our year-end appeal letters a few years ago, Harsha, a longtime volunteer, commented, “Whenever I enter your offices, I feel such a positive energy. This surprised me as I know what Sakhi’s work entails.” I truly appreciated her saying this as we, the staff, have dedicated time and energy to creating a space of shared intention, where anyone who enters feel like they’ve found a community of like minded individuals where they can share their burdens without judgement, feel safe to share their opinions and aspirations, and lean on each other for support.

Since I’ve been with Sakhi, we’ve moved offices; grown our staff and improved our infrastructure; deepened our work and impact by listening more in order to truly provide programs that are responsive to our community’s needs; revamped our website (a few times) and launched our blog; hosted community engagement events where we amplified progressive voices in the movement; and underwent a theory of change process and an external evaluation to understand our strengths and gaps. This work will continue with the new Executive Director, who will have the support of an amazing staff and a dedicated board. I will always be in awe of the compassion and humility of these women who continually pushed to ensure that we were doing right by our community.

This year, we highlighted our ever-growing and dynamic role as a gender justice organization at our gala, a moment we’ve been working towards over the past six years. Gender justice serves as the backbone of our work, which we’ve been exploring through the intersections of violence, immigration, economic justice, and reproductive justice/health. My hope is that I’ve done justice to all the amazing leaders who came before me at Sakhi; that I’ve continued the mission of five women who met in a living room 28 years ago.

When Sakhi first started, it was a radical notion to speak out against domestic violence, an issue still culturally viewed as a ‘family’ matter, a ‘private’ matter. The time has come again for us to speak out and to be loud. I was saddened to hear the devastating news from Portland of voices standing up against hateful rhetoric against Muslims being extinguished violently as it may serve as a cautionary tale to not get involved. During these volatile times, it is more important than ever to be united as a community and to be present as an ally. I invite you to request a bystander training as we can provide tools to de-escalate situations and help the person suffering harm get to safety.

We are in this together. Let’s draw strength from each other. Let’s make sure we share positive energy, while we create a world in our vision – a world where we are free to be who we want to be, and with whom we want to be, without fear.

Take care,

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