South Asian Americans have been a presence in the United States for more than 130 years. Early immigrants from South Asia worked on farms and factories, helped build railroads, fought for India’s freedom from British rule, and struggled for equal rights in the United States. Today, more than 5.4 million individuals in the U.S. trace their heritage to South Asia, the fastest growing immigrant group in the country. South Asian American stories are an integral part of the American story, yet little information is available to the public about these stories.
In “The Missing Stories,” SAADA’s Executive Director Samip Mallick will cover how communities come to be excluded from the archival record and how we can address these absences. Samip will provide an introduction to South Asian American history (1700s to present) and will also discuss how community-based archives can become sites for liberatory memory work by introducing the audience to SAADA’s archival collections, programs, and participatory storytelling projects.
SAADA’s work has been recognized with awards and support from the American Historical Association, Society of American Archivists, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. The organization has been highlighted by the New York Times, the Atlantic, NPR, and other national and international media. SAADA is working to create a future where each person’s story is valued and given the dignity and importance it deserves.
Samip Mallick is the co-founder and executive director of SAADA, which he has guided from its inception in 2008 to its place today as a national leader in community-based storytelling. Mallick’s background includes degrees in computer science and library and information sciences and work related to international migration and South Asia for the Social Science Research Council and University of Chicago. Mallick currently serves on the Library of Congress Connecting Communities Digital Initiative advisory board. He also previously served as an archival consultant for the Ford Foundation’s Reclaiming the Border Narrative initiative and on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Funding for this project is made possible by the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which provide significant support to Connecticut Humanities.