Civil rights attorney and author Deepa Iyer was awarded the 2017 Justice in Action Award by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund on March 2nd, during the organization’s annual gala at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, in New York City.
The Justice in Action Awards are presented annually to individuals for their outstanding achievements and their contributions in promoting justice and equality. The other recipient was Marie Oh Huber, general counsel of eBay Inc. The event was emceed by NYC Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan.
Past recipients include Congressman John Lewis, Yoko Ono, David Henry Hwang, Sandra Leung, Fareed Zakaria, Jose Antonio Vargas, BD Wong, Don H. Liu, Mira Nair, George Takei, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Harry Belafonte, Seymour Hersh, Larry Tu, Ivan Fong, John G. Chou, A.B. Cruz III, and Margaret Cho.
Over 700 leaders of the civil rights, legal, business, and arts communities across the country are expected to attend AALDEF’s 2017 Justice in Action Awards Gala. The evening began with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by the Justice in Action Awards ceremony and a banquet dinner.
A leading racial justice activist, Deepa Iyer served for a decade as the executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), focusing on community building in post-9/11 America. She teaches in the Asian American studies program at the University of Maryland. As Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion, Deepa Iyer provides analysis, commentary and scholarship on the ways to build racial equity and solidarity in light of the rapid demographic transformation in America’s neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.
As Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion, Deepa Iyer provides analysis, commentary and scholarship on the ways to build racial equity and solidarity in light of the rapid demographic transformation in America’s neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. Deepa is an attorney who has worked on civil and immigrant rights issues in the non-profit and governmental sectors for 15 years.
Most recently, Deepa served as Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade. While at SAALT, Deepa shaped the formation of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of local South Asian groups, and served as Chair of the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA). Prior to her tenure at SAALT, Deepa served as Legal Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center; Trial Attorney at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; and Staff Attorney at the Asian American Justice Center.
Deepa is the author of the book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future, published in November 2015. Deepa’s opinion editorials on issues ranging from the post 9/11 backlash to immigration reform to anti-Black racism have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Al-Jazeera America, and The Nation.
An immigrant who moved to Kentucky when she was twelve, Deepa graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University. Deepa is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Race Forward. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Since 1974, AALDEF has been protecting and promoting the civil rights of Asian Americans across the nation through litigation, advocacy, organizing, and community education. All proceeds from the gala will go directly towards supporting AALDEF’s legal and educational programs in immigrant rights, economic justice for workers, voting rights and civic participation, educational equity, housing and environmental justice, and the elimination of hate violence, police misconduct, and human trafficking.