Andolan Records

Date Range: 1999-2008
Creator: Andolan

History: Andolan is a non-profit, membership based organization that advocates on behalf of South Asian immigrant workers. Founded in 1998 by executive director Gulnahar Alam, the collective continues to be led by members, comprised primarily of low-wage female workers. The organization addresses gaps in social services and government agencies by providing legal assistance and a membership network support system for undocumented South Asian workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Andolan, meaning “movement” in various South Asian languages, mobilizes workers for coalition building to ensure South Asian communities reach self-determinacy. Cornerstone to their mission is a commitment to helping all workers realize their legal rights in order to empower working class immigrant communities. As most members are domestic workers (babysitters, housekeepers), retail and restaurant workers, these marginalized and invisible groups often face obstacles such as worker exploitation, abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Andolan encourages members to take on leadership roles in organizing, to transform their struggles and experiences into practical knowledge that works towards liberating female workers from inter-dependency and oppressive systems.

Andolan operates through three types of community programming: providing support to workers, promoting legal advocacy and community campaigning. Andolan’s member network holds meetings and educational workshops to address changes and issues surrounding immigration law, health, labor and domestic issues. The member network is sensitive to the immediate and cultural needs of the community by offering constant support through referrals for medical assistance and refuge, as well as counseling and translation services. Andolan’s implementation plans involve filing lawsuits in order to heighten public awareness of the various issues domestic workers face. Lawsuits Andolan brought to public attention include cases on federal violation of state minimum wages, sexual harassment, assault, and imprisonment upon false charges. Additionally, Andolan has launched several successful campaigns to protect worker’s rights, including the Campaign against Diplomatic Immunity of UN Employees, which aimed to hold diplomats accountable for their abusive treatment towards domestic workers. Andolan has co-coordinated with CAAAV for the Campaign to Increase the Minimum Wage, which strives to increase working wages through dialogue with local and state officials. Andolan also organizes protests and demonstrations in order to receive immediate responses to specific grievances. As a founding member of Domestic Workers United, Andolan continues to collaborate with DWU to advance the movement to end worker exploitation.

Within the past decade, Andolan had several legal victories in lawsuits against abusive employers. In a landmark settlement case, Andolan’s client received the largest reparations in U.S. legal history for a domestic worker, thereby setting a precedent for other low-wage immigrant workers. Another monumental victory for Andolan is marked by the City Hall approval of a bill in 2003, which requires employers and agencies to provide a contract to workers that guarantees minimum wage and overtime pay, health insurance, regular working hours and enforcement of labor standards.

In recognition of their achievements and social impact in the community, Andolan was awarded the Union Square Social Justice Award in 2001.

Summary: Totaling 6.0 linear feet, Andolan’s records consist of client court case files, administrative, board and fiscal operations, programming and development files, grant support and publicity materials.

Measuring approximately 3.0 linear feet, the bulk of records are confidential court files that document Andolan’s litigation role in client cases from 1998 to 2006. Separate, but precursory to Andolan’s formal filing of legal cases are client intake files documenting personal background information in Hindi and Bengali. Legal cases relate to wage compensation, political asylum and domestic violence against workers and women. These files trace case progression with legal proceedings, attorney correspondences, affidavits of support, court petitions and transcripts.

The second largest volume of materials are organizational development files which cover primarily the administrative and board functions, as well as fiscal records from 2000 to 2006. Within these files are annual directors meeting minutes, agendas, organizational structure models, by-laws and article of incorporation. Of note are board evaluation records of Andolan’s progress up until 2006, supplemented by the article of members and an outlined explanation of board roles. Contained within the organizational files are directories of members and community contacts organized in binders. The organization’s development files also hold fiscal records, which document operational expenses with invoices, annual budget outlines, and tax forms.

Organizational funding files on grant applications and grassroots fundraising measure 1.0 linear feet and span between 2000 and 2008. Within these files are grant contracts, interim progress reports, budget sheet narratives, fundraising plans, grant award correspondences and letters of intent. Together, these components of the grant application files reflect organizational history and progression, as well as detailed project descriptions.

Comprising of .75 linear feet, Andolan’s project files date from 2000 to 2007, documenting global and local initiatives. Important campaign files include the Domestic Violence Project, “No One Signs Up to be a Slave,” a campaign against Human Trafficking. Files of significant Andolan international initiatives include the International Human Rights Watch (2004) and the Women’s Rights Hearing, part of the United Nations Conference against Racism, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (2001). Documentation of more creative projects includes drafts of “We are Andolan” song for street performances, transcripts of member’s testimonies and a script for a play based on true stories of Andolan members.

Publicity materials range from the years 1999 -2005, spotlighting Andolan’s larger advocacy programs, public events and legal case milestones. Flyers, brochures and press releases document community initiatives and collaborations with other non-profit organizations such as DESI, DRUM, AALDEF, CAAAV and Domestic Workers United to create projects such as the Free Women’s Clinic and educational workshops on self-defense. Some of these materials are bi-lingual, or are in Bengali. There are also collected newspaper clippings from local and national newspapers, including India Times, New York Times with articles on founder Gulnahar Alam, Andolan’s active role in the campaign against U.N. Diplomatic Immunity and worker exploitation in the restaurant lawsuits against Malabar Palace. In addition, there are collected original clippings of Andolan’s advertisements of their services in Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian newspapers.

Sources: Andolan – Organizing South Asian Workers. http://andolan.net.

Aliya Hussain, “Trouble at Home: Domestic Workers Speak Out Against Exploitation and Abuse,” April 10, 2010, accessed February 13, 2012. http://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights-womens-rights/trouble-home-domestic-workers-speak-out-against-exploitation-and.

Jessica Shattuck “October Hellraiser: Nahar Alam, Fighting for the Rights of Domestic Workers,” http://motherjones.com/politics/1998/09/october-hellraiser. September/October 1998 Issue.

Andolan: Organizing South Asian Workers: “Revaluing ‘Women’s Work:’ Ending the Exploitation and Abuse of Domestic Workers.” http://www.svcfreenyc.org/event_1148.html. March 3, 2010.

Total size: 6.0 linear feet
APA-related size: 6.0 linear feet
Location: Private residence

Jack G. Shaheen Archive

Date Range: 19112009jackcrop
Creator: Shaheen, Jack G. (1935-2017)
History: Born in 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Jack G. Shaheen dedicated his career to identifying and contesting damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American media. A professor, author, and professional consultant for films such as Syriana and Three Kings, Shaheen, with the help of his wife Bernice Shaheen, collected and analyzed materials which depicted Arabs and Muslims as the godless “cultural other.” The result is the Jack G. Shaheen Archive.

SAKHI for South Asian Women Records

Date Range: 19902009
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-04-20
Creator: SAKHI for South Asian Women

History: SAKHI for South Asian Women is a New York City-based not-for-profit dedicated to ending domestic violence against women. Founded in 1989 by a group of five South Asian women from diverse professional backgrounds, SAKHI, meaning “woman friend,” provides culturally-sensitive and language-specific support to survivors of domestic violence. The organization works to mobilize the South Asian community to actively engage in the movement to end violence against women, challenging the silence surrounding domestic abuse within the community. Their work with survivors includes crisis intervention, monthly support groups, assistance in accessing free or low-cost legal representation, health services, public benefits and housing, and accompaniments and translation assistance in court, during health care visits, and at welfare agencies. Their Economic Empowerment Program assists survivors on their paths to self-sufficiency, providing classes and workshops on basic computer literacy, English communication, resume writing, and internet job-searching. Their Swarna Chalasani Economic empowerment fund provides small grants to qualified survivors to pursue career and educational opportunities. Read more

NYPD Desi Society Records

Date Range: 20062010
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2010-10-15
Creator: NYPD Desi Society

History: The NYPD Desi Society, the first South Asian American fraternal law enforcement organization in the United States, was formed at the gathering of about seventy South Asian American NYPD Police Officers on January 20, 2004. The organization was incorporated on November 4, 2004 to help improve mutual understanding between the NYPD and South Asian communities, increase the number of South Asian American officers in the NYPD, support NYPD officers of South Asian descent, and promote ethnic and racial tolerance within the NYPD. In 2006, the NYPD recognized the organization, and in 2008 the NYPD Desi Society was admitted as a member organization of the Police Society. Read more

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Records


Date Range:
 19922011
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2011-05-11
Creator: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)

History:
 Dedicated to the needs and concerns of Asian Pacific American (APA) workers the foundations for the creation of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) were laid in 1990 when a number of APA labor activists presented the AFL-CIO with a proposal to better address a continued under-representation among APA workers in the labor movement by forming a national APA labor organization. Following the lessons learned from the examples of APA labor leaders in history, they understood the necessity of forming labor alliances, and sought to get more APA workers into unions, especially, those working in historically important industries such as garment factories and restaurants.The founders recognized that, in addition to traditional issues like fair wages, health care, and dignity, APA workers faced other challenges and workplace discrimination. Despite the popularity of a ‘model minority myth’ about Asian Pacific Americans, there are many misunderstandings about the ability of many Asian Pacific Americans to achieve economic security and prosperity. While the median income of APA workers is higher than the national average, there is tremendous difference between specific ethnic groups – some experience high rates of poverty and others have incomes that are substantially loser than the national average. Other disadvantages related to immigration status, discrimination, language ability and education force many Asian Pacific Americans into low-paying and insecure jobs, often accompanied by exploitation, discrimination and harsh conditions.

Asia Pacific Forum Records

Date Range: 19982011APF logo
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-01-28
Creator: Asia Pacific Forum

History:
 Broadcasting on WBAI 99.5 FM and streaming live on the web every Monday from 9-10 pm, Asia Pacific Forum (APF) is “a progressive pan-Asian radio show” based in New York City focusing on culture and politics. APF’s broadcasts cover underreported stories from Asia and Asian America and explore topics including activism, civil and human rights, foreign policy, immigration, history, labor, literature, pop culture, and the performing arts. WBAI is part of the Pacifica Foundation, a non-commercial and listener-sponsored national radio network founded in 1946 with about 50 additional affiliates in Houston, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Washington, D.C., and other cities across the United States.
APF has operated as a collective since its founding. Current core collective members are Zhaleh Afshar, Saara Azadi, Olivia Canlas, Mijounga Chan, Michelle Chen, Aniruddha Das, Naved Husain, Danny Kim, Aruna Krishnakumar, and Hyun Lee.