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University of Mississippi

Activist Deepa Iyer to Visit UM Oct. 14-16


Deepa Iyer

Deepa Iyer

The founder and executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together is making a series of appearances Oct. 14-16 at the University of Mississippi.

Scholar-activist-lawyer Deepa Iyer lectures Wednesday (Oct. 15) at the Overby Center Auditorium and Thursday (Oct. 16) at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 1090. Both events start at 5 p.m. and are free to the public. Iyers is also the noon brown bag luncheon speaker Tuesday-Thursday at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, on the third floor of Lamar Hall.

Iyer’s appearances are co-sponsored by UM’s Winter Institute and Department of Public Policy Leadership. Topics she plans to address include “America’s New Racial Landscape,” “The Politics of Being Brown: Legal and Policy Frontiers,” “Asian Americans and Radical Identities in the South,” “Racial Anxiety and Solidarity in a Majority-Minority Nation” and “Community-Building in South Asian Communities.”

“Deepa Iyer’s presence on campus is extremely important,” said Jennifer Stollman, events coordinator for the Winter Institute. “In addition to complicating the nation’s black-white racial paradigm, her work as an activist and scholar highlights the experiences, challenges and strengths of South Asian communities.”

Iyer is a prominent spokesperson and adviser regarding policy and issues related to South Asian communities. She has written widely on post-9/11 backlash, immigration reform, racism and law enforcement, and access to political, social and economic benefits.

“Her experience founding, developing and directing SAALT demonstrates to the University of Mississippi the ability to identify a void in the American racial landscape, illuminate issues of inequity, and develop awareness, policies and solutions impacting South Asians,” Stollman said.

“By complicating America’s racial landscape, Ms. Iyer allows for a more reflective and nuanced approach to infrastructural, systemic and interpersonal racism. Such an approach encourages the faculty, staff and students to be more aware of the complexity of racism, how it impacts our structures and relationships and illuminates solutions that can sustain change and the push for equality.”

Iyer said she is honored and privileged to be spending a week with UM students and faculty.

“During my week at the University of Mississippi, I hope that we can collectively generate ideas and conversations about issues at the heart of our country’s changing racial landscape: race relations, immigration, post-9/11 America and solidarity among communities of color,” Iyer said. “The University of Mississippi, grounded in a history of civil rights resistance, is an ideal place to wrestle with these issues and move toward solutions that will bring about greater racial equity.”

For more about the Winter Institute, visit For more about Deepa Iyer, visit For more information about SAALT, go to