Stories From South Asian New York City

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with and interviewing a comrade and friend to many of us, Javaid Tariq of the NY Taxi Workers Alliance. After a few twists and turns (including Javaid bum rushing the stage at a Red Baraat show in the spring) and much delay, my piece about his incredible story for Open City Magazine is finally up right here.

This piece also concludes my fellowship with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to meet so many fascinating and powerful South Asian New Yorkers who were willing to share their stories with me (and us). It’s been a lot of fun working on these pieces over the last year and a half. If you missed any of them, here’s a recap:

The Festival of Light and Liberation, Sikh Style
Diwali is celebrated in various ways by South Asian peoples. The Sikh celebration adds politics to the mix.

Harmonium Soul
Harmoniums are all over South Asian music. But they also connect Guyana and Punjab spiritually

The Spirit of Parshaada (w/ video)
Roti is everyday food in Punjabi homes. At the gurdwara, it takes on a new name and becomes a symbol of service.

Sikh Teens Spread Awareness + Love in Manhattan
“…I’d see non-Sikhs…be scared because there were so many turbans around them. I want to end that,” Amrinder Singh explained.

In Suburban Queens, a South Asian Political Renaissance
Ali Najmi, the contender to represent one of the largest South Asian enclaves in NYC, talks about Glen Oaks, the Sikh gurdwaras, and taxi drivers.

The Education of an Immigration Lawyer
How a high school teacher’s advocacy vs. bullying of Sikh students led her from the classroom to the court room.

Cha Time at Home
Cha, chai or te? A Richmond Hill family’s multiple ways of preparing what Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu called “the elixir of life.”

The Free-Spirited Journey of a Taxi Union Organizer
From sufism to reggae, from construction work to driving taxis, it has been a colorful ride for one of the co-founders of a taxi drivers union in New York.


NYTWA organizer Javaid Tariq, the subject of my latest piece for Open City Magazine.

NYTWA organizer Javaid Tariq, the subject of my latest piece for Open City Magazine.

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