North American Association of Indian Students

North American Association of Indian Students

We’re students. We’re young professionals. We’re people of color. We’re international. We’re Indian-Americans. Out of the 11 board members, five are currently graduate and undergraduate students, four are young professionals, five came on F1 visas, and six were born and brought up in the United States: from rural Alabama to

North American Association of Indian Students

We’re students. We’re young professionals. We’re people of color. We’re international. We’re Indian-Americans. Out of the 11 board members, five are currently graduate and undergraduate students, four are young professionals, five came on F1 visas, and six were born and brought up in the United States: from rural Alabama to Edison, New Jersey. We've suffered through Trump's student bans, we've faced hate crimes and assaults, we've been isolated in our community college, and we've all seen the power of supportive community. In the months after, a loyalty among these students were created and our membership went from 600 to over 4500 to now over 23,000. The community also realized the need and value of participating in civic engagement to ensure that this demographic was not targeted again. There was a change in how government bodies took into consideration the causes we brought up as we had the powerful support and narrative of the media. We were able to host over 65 in-person workshops in 53 universities and 12 large flagship events. We have also been able to build relationships with 14 different college town mayors to ensure representation of Indians on their boards.

About the Organization:

We’re students. We’re young professionals. We’re people of color. We’re international. We’re Indian-Americans. Out of the 11 board members, five are currently graduate and undergraduate students, four are young professionals, five came on F1 visas, and six were born and brought up in the United States: from rural Alabama to Edison, New Jersey. We've suffered through Trump's student bans, we've faced hate crimes and assaults, we've been isolated in our community college, and we've all seen the power of supportive community. In the months after, a loyalty among these students were created and our membership went from 600 to over 4500 to now over 23,000. The community also realized the need and value of participating in civic engagement to ensure that this demographic was not targeted again. There was a change in how government bodies took into consideration the causes we brought up as we had the powerful support and narrative of the media. We were able to host over 65 in-person workshops in 53 universities and 12 large flagship events. We have also been able to build relationships with 14 different college town mayors to ensure representation of Indians on their boards.

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

The Issue:

In the same year that President Biden’s administration appointed a record number  of Indian-origin individuals, a finding by the Department of Homeland Services reported over 400 instances of hate crimes against Indian students and young professionals. Open Doors estimates that Indian nationals on F1 visa will cross 250,0000 in 2022. The Census and data by academic Devesh Kapur estimate upwards of 750,000 young Indian-Americans in high school and college. This data means that there are over 900,000 Indian-origin students in the US in any given year, the largest student demographic. US’s democracy boasts of being a meritocratic governance model representative of people from varied backgrounds. Through NAAIS, we uphold a progressive narrative and mobilize the Indian-American youth population to contribute such that policies and practices are shaped from the grassroots up along with the perspective following norms of inclusion and equity. We are committed to a democracy in which all of us belong and thrive. The problem that lies at hand is the absence of a unifying organization representing the Indian-American demographic, focusing on students and young professionals, that can also clear misunderstandings, provide accurate information and create a channel between representatives and our target demographic.  With significant social and economic contribution, we aim to further unlock the potential of the collective Indian American community in creating local leadership and infrastructure that will drive and sustain civic participation embodying the diversity of demographics, thought, and geography. Our long term goal is to target the underlying structural and systemic conditions that prevent the participation of the Indian American community in democracy and civic engagement within the United States. We also aim to increase the understanding of Indian-Americans and Indians in students, and act as a “go-to: resource group for . Through our individual pro-bono services, we advise and assist Indians. We aim to address the systemic effects of racial biases and general roadblocks with integration and assimilation, including information gaps such as visa, housing, health, and employment issues.

The Solution:

NAAIS has established upwards of 100+ affiliates in college campuses and high schools to build a network of Indian clubs and twenty state chapters to ensure a grassroots body working on advocacy, aid, and community for young Indians. Lack of representation and systemic exclusion of the communities of color has prevented the civic participation of Indian-Americans in the larger democractic functioning. NAAIS aims to systematically address this lack of political power and mobilize local political support to enact public policy priorities with shared values. Policy advocacy and engagement with elected officials and US policy alongside trying to lobby policymakers to ensure that Indian-origin students have continued support is how we are trying to dismantle the structural barriers to civic engagement for Indian-American youth, students and young entrepreneurs. Our mental model is to ultimately lead towards a culture of strong civic trust and inclusivity in the United States for all. This collective body will act as a catalyst for transformational social change and impact.

We also work with the community itself: a lack of trust, a focus on your private life rather than contributing to civic life has ensured that civic engagement rates stay low. By providing workshops, teach-ins and opportunities to engage with civic leaders, this helps transform the mindset of the current generation alongside those before us, because the misconceptions developed only, because of the lack of network and connectivity. Within the organization and towards our members, our insistence on promoting diversity and inclusion of members, also helps build a safer and more dependable organizational trust for the community.

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