by Shasti Conrad
This January, a local news station mixed up two elected officials from Washington State — both Indian women. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. In the segment, the reporter references a sales tax cut proposal by Democratic Sen. Mona Das, who represents Washington’s 47th District. The video then instantly pans to a clip of Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra, who represents Washington’s 45th District. It was a mistake, but it was also a microaggression too often perpetrated against People of Color — the assumption we all look the same, and our own identities do not matter.
Representation can be a strong combatant against such microaggressions. And the recently increased inclusion of Indian women narratives in popular culture and media is a crucial step.
Continue reading OPINION: Indian American Women Are Making It on the Big Screen, but We Need More →
by Shasti Conrad
Local elections don’t just matter: They are a matter of life and death for far too many in our communities.
About a month ago, I learned that my hometown of Newberg, Oregon, became the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. The local school board voted to ban symbols such as Pride flags and signs declaring that “Black Lives Matter,” calling them “political statements’’ and therefore inappropriate for school. What they really did was politicize humanity and, in the name of “neutrality,” help the oppressor.
As someone who also had to navigate predominantly white spaces as a student of color, my heart went out to students who, in that vote, witnessed representatives of the community invalidate their entire existence as a mere “political statement” that didn’t belong in a classroom setting.
The fact that Newberg is my hometown galvanized me to take action. And I am now working with people in Newberg to hold school board members accountable for this, by supporting recall efforts for Brian Shannon, and making the Newberg School District more welcoming and equitable. And while the story of Newberg is deeply personal to me, it is also far from unique. These incidents are happening in schools all around the nation and in our own backyard.
Continue reading OPINION: School Boards and Local Elections Are Ground Zero for Our Values →