Usha Subrahmanyam, Donor
I have lived in NYC since 1974. I am an Art Historian by training and have had the privilege of running the first gallery for Contemporary Indian Art in NYC from 1994 to 2000. I am on the Advisory Committee of the Multi Cultural Audience Development Initiative( MADI) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am also involved with fund raising for a capital project at the same institution.
A lot has changed since my early days in NYC, when South Asians were few and far between. I moved here at a time when South Asians used to greet each other on the street, even if it was a first meeting! As graduate students, my integration into this country happened in a gradual manner. Slowly and seamlessly, I became a part of New York and America.
The mix of South Asians is different now. From a group that was largely made up of engineers, doctors and academics, we now have a diverse cross-section of individuals from the subcontinent and beyond. Newer immigrants arrive with far less social and economic capital, and the transition is more difficult.
I know this from personal experience of having helped a particular family realize the American Dream. In 1997, our son introduced us to SAYA! At first we were taken back by the challenges of this newer immigrant community. I witnessed SAYA! staff and volunteers go above and beyond to help a young man. It did not take us long to make a decision to support SAYA!'s programs.
Many of our friends routinely support worthy causes in India. There is no question that we need to support causes in our home countries where our dollars go a long way. But as a community, I and so many others have gained so much from this country.
It is time to give back in the place we now call home.
I can think of no better organization than SAYA!. The impact of SAYA!'s work is clear. You only need to observe SAYA!'s academic, sports, and arts programs, and its committed Board and staff in action. As the young people would say, supporting SAYA! is a no-brainer!