SABA-DC Dinner Series: The Impact of the Cancellation of TPS for Nepal on the South Asian CommunityIn April 2015, Nepal was struck with a severe earthquake that injured 1000s of people, resulted in the death of 9,000 people, caused damage to over 600,000 homes, and left over 3 million people homeless. In June 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Nepal under § 244(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Section 244(b)(1)(B) allows for a TPS designation if an environmental disaster, specifically including an earthquake, has caused a substantial temporary disruption of living conditions in the area affected such that the country cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals, and the country has officially requested a TPS designation.
In April 2018, the Department of Homeland Security decided to revoke TPS for Nepal, which will result in forcing 9,000 TPS holders to go back to Nepal before the country is ready for them. As of March 2018, only 15% of the over 700,000 households eligible for reconstruction have been rebuilt.
Please join SABA-DC for a discussion with Pabitra Benjamin the Executive Director of Adhikaar and Lakshmi Sridaran the Director of National Policy and Advocacy at South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT) to talk about this critical situation for TPS holders from Nepal.
Monday, May 21, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Asia Nine, 915 E Street NW, Washington DC 20004
Pabitra Benjamin, Executive Director of Adhikaar
A supporter of Adhikaar since 2010, Pabitra was elected and has served as an active board member to the organization since 2015, demonstrating a strong commitment to facilitating staff and board leadership as well as pressing us to deepen our political analysis and strategies. She began as Executive Director in 2017. Pabitra’s life and work are rooted in community. Pabitra immigrated to the US when she was 7 with her parents. She has lived in Nepal and in various states all over the US since then. Growing up in a working class household, her passions for community organizing grew out of this experience. She began organizing as a teenager in her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin and then later as a student organizer at the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts. Pabitra brings to Adhikaar strong and diverse alliances, seasoned and developed over the last two decades of her life, blending an intersectional approach to race, class, caste, gender and ethnicity. We are excited for this timely perspective to be at the leading edge of our work. Pabitra also brings a holistic approach to leadership, believing that by nurturing relationships among staff she manages and all stakeholders with whom she interacts, we stand stronger and more united in creating the change we seek. During her career, Pabitra has served in leading organizing efforts, most recently with Amnesty International USA as their field director and interim campaign manager for gun violence and criminal justice. Her journey has included lead staff positions with networks and grassroots organizations including the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the Rights Working Group, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and Fair Wisconsin/Action WI Education Fund.
Lakshmi Sridaran, Director of National Policy and Advocacy at South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT)
Lakshmi comes to SAALT with a deep commitment to racial justice. Most recently she served as the Policy Director for The Praxis Project, a Washington-DC based, national movement support organization. In that capacity she provided policy, research, training, and campaign development support for grassroots organizations in communities of color working to advance health justice legislation at the state and local level. She also represented Praxis in various coalitions to engage policymakers, funders, and national civil rights organizations in creating integrated and shared agendas for improving health outcomes in communities of color. Before this, Lakshmi completed six years of work in New Orleans, Louisiana where she started as a community development specialist with Bright Moments public relations firm and PolicyLink to produce findings and recommendations for improving federal contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises after Hurricane Katrina. She concluded her time there as Director of Programs for Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN). Much of her work there was focused on building neighborhood organizational capacity among the over 100 NPN members, helping shape local advocacy campaigns on participatory budgeting, public school closings, and infrastructure improvement, linking these to state and federal policies.