FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Harshita Venkatesh
SAFA Communications Co-Chair
South Asians for America Hosts Town Hall with the Afghan American Community
SAFA partners with the Afghan Coalition to organize the Afghan American Virtual Town Hall with Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
August 20, 2021 — South Asians for America, a national, grassroots organization dedicated to the education, advocacy, engagement, and mobilization of the South Asian community, partnered with the Afghan Coalition Friday to host a virtual town hall with Congressman Eric Swalwell, whose district in California is home to one of the largest Afghan American communities in the United States. The event was moderated by Harris Mojadedi, an Afghan American community leader who spearheaded the event.
“We come to you at a very sad time for Afghanistan,” said Congressman Eric Swalwell. “I will be working in the coming weeks to make sure that every community in my district has a plan to stand up and support any families that are here in need.”
The town hall was attended by more than 300 individuals. Participants expressed acute concerns for their families in Afghanistan and sought help on their behalf.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating, and we are all heartbroken over the searing images we are seeing of people attempting to escape. SAFA felt that it was imperative to create a forum to provide support and information for the Afghan American community and resources for allies looking to assist,” said Neha Dewan, National Director of South Asians for America. “SAFA stands in strong solidarity with the Afghan-American community during their time of grave need.”
“What’s unfolding in Afghanistan: it’s painful, it's shocking, and it’s a scary moment for our entire Afghan American diaspora, and as we’ve seen in the last few days, it’s really shocking and painful for our whole community and for our whole country,” said Mojadedi, an advocacy leader with the Afghan Coalition who spoke of the humanitarian conditions in the country.
In recognition of the increased media attention the Afghan community is receiving, Mojadedi said, “What’s going on in Afghanistan is not new for our community, but It feels like for the first time in 40 years of conflict that we are being seen and we are being acknowledged,” said Mojadedi.
Congressman Swalwell provided updates on the situation on-the-ground, and also shared resources for Afghan Americans who were in the process of assisting family members attempting to leave Afghanistan. Spojmie Nasiri, an Afghan American immigration attorney, also joined the town hall to provide information regarding immigration status and visas, and to share additional resources.
“This town hall event was a much-needed first step, “ said Harini Krishnan, a member of SAFA’s leadership team.
“We will continue to center the Afghan community’s perspectives in ongoing discussions, advocate with the community, and be a resource during this critical time, and for days and months to come,” said Deepa Sharma, who also serves on SAFA’s leadership team.
Resources shared during the Town Hall:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is seeking volunteers to help refugees upon arrival with airport pickups, meal assistance, mentorship, tutoring and more. You can participate if you are located in one of the areas where refugees are arriving. There is also a standby list to join other locations.
If you are interested in making a donation:
For more information on the Afghan Coalition: https://www.afghancoalition.org/.
South Asians for America (SAFA), which transitioned from South Asians for Biden in 2021, is a national, grassroots organization dedicated to the education, advocacy, engagement, and mobilization of the South Asian Democratic community in the United States at the local, state, and federal levels, by increasing the civic engagement, political participation, and network of South Asians.
SAFA also recognizes and stands in solidarity with service members who were stationed in Afghanistan and may be experiencing trauma during this time.
For more about South Asians for America, and to register for future events, please visit https://www.saforamerica.org.
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