SABA hosts its Annual Gala
The South Asian Bar Association of Georgia (SABA) held its Sixth Annual Gala at Silom Thai and Sushi Bar in Buckhead, Atlanta recently. Lalitha Alladi, president of SABA in Georgia, said that the gala, which served as both a social as well as a benefit event, raised $10,000 for the Glitter of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization that originally served orphans and refugees but now also provides social services for immigrants who are elderly, sick, or single mothers with challenges around the Atlanta area. The gala was attended by more than 120 legal professionals, students, and local nonprofit members who also support Asian and African refugee communities.
[Left] More than 120 legal professionals, students, and local nonprofit members attended the SABA-GA Gala at Silom Thai & Sushi Bar in Buckhead.
Murtaza Khwaja, executive director in Georgia for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has a partnership with Glitter of Hope, also attended the event. In addition to the generosity of the legal community, it’s the time that volunteers spend with the refugees that has the most impact, Khwaja said. He shared how, with the influx of Afghan refugees coming into the area, the attorneys have provided services to help clarify the refugee protection status. Outside of professional guidance, SABA-GA members have also mentored refugee teens to think about their career paths, according to Khwaja. “The time it takes for an attorney to come out on a Saturday or Sunday to sit down with them and talk them through very basic day-to-day things is immeasurable,” he said.
[Right] Murtaza Khwaja accepted the $10,000 donation from SABA-GA on behalf of Glitter of Hope.
Alladi, an immigration attorney, explained that Afghan nationals have already been displaced to 98 different countries since they had just experienced violence and conflict in their home country. Eighty percent of those Afghan nationals are women and children. Atlanta has taken in more than 1500 Afghan refugees since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in the fall of 2021, according to the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. Alladi said attorneys can help these individuals by filing for humanitarian parole, temporary protected status, asylum, and/or completion of special visa immigrant visa processing. Earlier this year, SABA volunteers assembled hygiene kits for Afghan refugees at the SABA North America Conference.
[Left] SABA board members at the Annual GAla.
Issues affecting various immigrant communities, including refugees, strike a chord with members of SABA, as many have an immigrant story to share themselves, according to the president of SABA North America, Tara Raghavan, who also attended the gala. SABA has helped the South Asian community by being their voice for many issues like immigration and voting rights, she said. “Either our parents immigrated or we ourselves immigrated from somewhere. I think we all get some help when we are first getting started. If we don’t do the same thing for people, then what are we doing here?” Raghavan said.
—Amritha Alladi Joseph. Pictures by Jis Joseph
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