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Raksha organizes discussions on Black Allyship and Teen Dating Violence

April 2021
Raksha organizes discussions on Black Allyship and Teen Dating Violence

On February 19, Raksha hosted a youth speaker panel to create an engaging and thought-provoking conversation around dating violence and healthy relationships in the South Asian community in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness month (TDVAM). The event, co-hosted by National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) Atlanta and ATL Q+A, was livestreamed on Raksha’s social media platforms.

 [Left] Vyanti Joseph, Mousumi Hill, Rupkatha Banerjee and Karimah Dillard speaking on Raksha panel to discuss South Asian and Black Allyship.

The speaker panel included students and recent graduates from campuses across Atlanta as also a youth program coordinator from Partnership Against Dating Violence (PADV).

The conversation traversed a range of topics, starting with how dating violence features in South Asian youth groups on college campuses to unique challenges and risks for South Asian youth. Panelists pointed to cultural values like honor, family ties and tight-knit communities as sources of support for survivors, as also barriers for survivors to seek help.

Intersectional identities like LGBTQ South Asians were at the heart of the discussion, as speakers chimed in on how being part of the LGBTQ community can distance teens from their community and leave them especially vulnerable towards emotional, verbal and physical violence. The discussion touched upon concepts of denial and unhealthy legacy that may result from intergenerational trauma and parental modeling. Among the top solutions identified was the need to address communication issues emerging from pre-existing inter-generational cultural conflicts.

All panelists emphasized the importance of maintaining conversation—however difficult it may be—as a slow but sure way to address intergenerational cultural conflicts and communication barriers. They emphasized the importance of factoring in generational and language differences, and understanding that words that have definitions for young people (for example, dating violence) may not be a part of an older person’s vocabulary.

The video recording of this conversation is available on Raksha’s Youtube channel, while a resource list on the subject is available on the website.

Raksha hosts a panel discussion on South Asian and Black Allyship

In recognition of Black History Month, Raksha hosted a speaker panel on February 26, moderated by Vyanti Joseph to address various aspects of South Asian and Black Allyship. The panelists were Karimah Dillard, Rupkatha Banerjee, and Mousumi Hill who talked about how to name and dismantle this kind of racism.

Karimah Dillard kicked off the conversation with a discussion on how South Asian and Black people’s struggles are tied, drawing on her own experience as a Black woman who formerly worked for Raksha. Rupkatha Banerjee, a student activist, brought up the ways that South Asians and Black people are pitted against each other in the racial hierarchy, as also emphasizing that family is the first unit of change. Mousumi Hill then spoke on her experience as a South Asian woman married to a Black man, specifically the experience of having to dismantle her family’s anti-Blackness.

A theme that came up over and again was the importance of naming and addressing anti-Blackness in the family structure. The other theme was the harm caused by the model minority myth which overlooks South Asian people who are not upper middle class, and upholds white supremacy against all minorities. Wrapping up the conversation, the panelists talked about what gave them hope and how they practiced self-care.

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