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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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Call for Artists:

Asian-American Performers, Artists & Writers for Sakhi’s Second “Gender Justice and The Arts” Showcase at Bowery Poetry

Building on the success of last year’s sold out “Gender Justice and the Arts” event at Bowery Poetry Club, leading NYC immigrant women’s advocacy organization Sakhi for South Asian Women is pleased to announce our call for artists for the second iteration of this multi-disciplinary show that explores the intersections of creative expression and gender politics.

Last year’s stellar line up included performances from Alok Vaid-Menon, Benaifer Bhadha, and Mashuq Deen, and a panel featuring visual artists Ayqa Khan, Amina Ahmed, and Soni Satpathy-Singh. This year, in an effort to build solidarity and form important bridges between our various communities, Sakhi is opening our artist call to all Asian and Asian American artists who identify as women, transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming and have a strong commitment to gender justice as part of their creative work. We are seeking theater performers, visual artists, poets, and writers.

This show will take place Monday, July 31st, 2017, at 6PM at the Bowery Poetry Club on the Lower East Side. To be considered for the show, please email senti.sojwal@sakhi.org with links to your website and work, a brief proposal for what you’d like to present, and an explanation of how gender justice plays into your creative process and work by June 21st, 2017. Artists will have the opportunity to sell work at the show and provide materials for guests on upcoming performances and events. All artists will be compensated for participation in the show.

For information on past Sakhi events:

Sakhi to Host First-Ever Gender Justice and the Arts Event

Feminist Drummer Extraordinaire Kiran Gandhi Hosts Domestic Violence Fundraiser

Sakhi Presents: A Night with Amani Al-Khatahtbeh


Along with aforementioned, Sakhi has previously

collaborated with the following artists:

Diana Oh

Jes Tom

Madame Gandhi

Corinne Kai

Janani Balasubramanian

Mariah McCarthy

Riti Sachdeva

Nicole Shante White


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Dear Friends,

Our deepest gratitude to our honorees, emcee, presenters, & supporters for a beautiful evening at Tribeca 360 last Thursday to celebrate our 2017 gala and look ahead to the future together.

Sakhi’s “Gender Justice: A Future for All” gala was an inspiring celebration that brought together leading women’s advocates and community supporters in a critical conversation about resilience and hope in the face of injustice.

We celebrated honorees Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, and Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now, for their notable and far reaching contributions to feminist advocacy and the empowerment of women and girls. In her speech, Reshma touched on the importance of teaching young girls resilience and bravery and shared her own experience attending Sakhi galas as a young activist and the impact our community had on her. Yasmeen made a powerful call to action as she discussed the importance of activating ourselves and seeing our own strength as agents of change.

Our emcee, WNYC reporter Arun Venugopal, discussed the importance of men in the movement to end gender-based violence and shared highlights in our programming of the past year, from community Bystander Trainings to an increased response to the mental health needs of our clients.

At the gala, we were so excited to announce that in the fall, Sakhi will launch a partnership with Girls Who Code by starting our own coding club for the daughters of the survivors we serve! With generous contributions from our supporters, we were able to raise over $320,000 at our gala. These funds will go towards supporting our youth program and expanding our client services.

We would like to give a heartfelt thank you in particular to our Gala Chair, Dr. Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos, our Gala Advisory Committee, our Benefit Committee, and our generous sponsors for their continuing and invaluable support of our work to advocate for New York City’s South Asian women. We would also like to convey our deepest gratitude to all of our guests, volunteers, and supporters. You are vital to our mission, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you and stayed tuned for upcoming events and further opportunities for engagement this summer!


Sakhi for South Asian Women Board & Staff


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