Dalit Women Fight!, a report-back from the Dalit Mahila Swabhiman Yatra (Dalit Women’s Self-Determination March), was held at UC Berkeley on April 17th. The event was sponsored by the Association for India’s Development (AID) and Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA). ASATA members, students and community members gathered to hear the stories of the brave dalit women who have raised their voices and striven to build collective power in the face of caste oppression in India.
Those in attendance learned about the caravan that traveled to cities and villages spreading awareness of the atrocities committed against dalit communities. Activist Asha Kotwal and filmmaker Thenmozhi Soundararajan shared footage of the dalit women-lead movement, which is currently gaining more and more momentum. People engaged in discussions about how caste oppression is maintained, and what the Indian diaspora in America can do to stand in solidarity with the dalit women who continue to fight.
ASATA members meet Asha and Thenmozhi. Photo by Sabiha Basrai
In conjunction with AID and ASATA, the event was cosponsored by IDEX (International Development Exchange), Center for South Asian Studies at UC Berkeley, South Asian Advocacy Group at SJSU, Townsend Center and Center for Race & Gender (CRG) working group on Muslim Identities & Cultures.
Documentary filmmaker Thenmozhi Soundararajan discusses the dalit women-led movement
The event was live tweeted, and a Storify presentation of that can be found here.
ASATA, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, is a San Francisco Bay Area all-volunteer group working to educate, organize, and empower the Bay Area South Asian communities to end violence, oppression, racism and exploitation within and against our diverse communities.