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The killing of George Floyd and many many more Black community members sparked a lot of protests throughout the country and all over the world. It also forced a lot of introspection and conversation. At Tasveer, we wanted to take this moment to start a conversation within our community on how South Asians can be better allies and show solidarity to our Black community members.

We had Sharmin Hossain Directory of Equality Labs, Prof. S Charusheela from University of Washington Bothell, Prof. Bidisha Biswas from Western Washington University, Prof. Fawzia Afzal Khan from Montclair State University, along with our moderator Alka Kurian, Senior Lecturer at University of Washington Bothell.

We hosted over 50 participants on our Zoom call and over 50 live participants on Facebook Live actively engaging with our speakers. Some of the topics we touched upon include:

  • What does South Asian-Black Allyship look like?
  • Faced with this unprecedented anti-racist mass movement that is resonating across the US and the world, why must we South Asians break our silence?
  • Why must we force ourselves to see how we are all implicated and empathize with the protesters instead of pretending it is not really our issue?
  • Why must we move beyond hero-worshipping successful black people but we demonize ordinary black people as friends or intimate partners?
  • Why must we move beyond tokenistic support to BLM through social media and force ourselves to have a meaningful conversation on the issue?
  • Why must we understand where racism comes from – history of slavery, the civil rights movement – before we can even begin to support the movement?
  • Why must we understand that the anti-black bias prevalent among South Asians is deeply connected with the culture of casteism, colorism, and Hindu supremacy?

We had a very active audience who gave interesting insight, asked various questions, making it a true community event. To watch the full video, click here.