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In Conversation With Sheetal Acharya

Ranjani Saigal

Sheetal Acharya is a Senior Manager for National Advisory Financial Services Sector Alliances.  A community leader, she served as the first National President of the Network of Indian Professionals of North America and actively supports causes for women and children. She is very actively involved in the million women march and tells us why we should participate. 

What motivated you, an Indian America woman to get involved in the Million Woman March?  

I was motivated to get involved because of the radical way in which President-elect Trump wants to limit the rights of women and minorities in America.  In addition to being appalled by his personal behavior and attitude towards women, I worry about how he could remove womenís health care options and their ability to earn equal pay for equal work. 

South Asian women must stand with all Americans to protect the rights and gains of all women over the last few decades and not see them repealed under Trump.

I also worry about the future of my 3rd generation Indian-American children in a country being led by Trump and the alt-right.  I worry about the discrimination and harassment they may encounter because of Trumpís rhetoric and whether they will have fewer economic opportunities because of Trumpís anti-science agenda.  And, we must stand in solidarity with other minority communities to fight against discriminatory policies like registries and racial profiling. 

Could you give us the details of the march? What is the goal of the March? 

The March will be held on the Boston Common on Saturday, January 21 from 11:00am Ė 3:00pm.  This is the day after Donald J. Trumpís Presidential Inauguration, and thousands of Boston-area women AND men will peacefully march against hate, intolerance, and ongoing acts of violence against women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQIA, and people with disabilities.

You can learn more and register here:


Why should South Asian Women join the March?

South Asian women are among the most highly educated and professional ​demographic in America. We​ are CEOs, ​business leaders, healthcare professionals, engineers and scientists, community activists, educators, innovators, and investors. We represent all professions across Massachusetts and America.  And itís important that we participate in the debates that shape our future. And no debate is as important as stopping Trumpís radical agenda. 

We stand with all women to protect our fundamental rights to equal pay. ​We deserve to work and succeed in a workplace safe from harassment and with opportunities for growth and leadership that are similar to those received by men​ and regardless of our cultural heritage​. We support ​a woman's right to choose​ and access to affordable healthcare​.

It is indeed an unusual moment as the march protests rather than celebrates the Presidential Inauguration. Do you see it as a sign of weakness or strength for American democracy? 

This is a sign of the strength of American democracy.  Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump was elected President, and a great sign of that is the peaceful transition from President Obama to Trump.  Another sign of the strength of American democracy is our right and ability to protest Trump and raise awareness about his policies and the harm we believe they may cause.

What do you hope this march will achieve? 

We hope that it mobilizes Americans who do not support the Trump agenda to take action to fight it.  As Americans, we can march, raise money, educate the public, and vote to promote the issues we find important.

What do you hope President Trump will hear from all of you and what do you hope he will push forward different from his campaign promises? 

When President-elect Trump sees a million women marching in Washington DC, and thousands in Boston, New York, Chicago and other sister cities, we hope he understands that there is deep resistance to his radical agenda, and that Americans, from all backgrounds, will not sit idly by while he threatens their livelihood, health care, education, and safety.

Any special message for our readers? 

Itís important that our South Asian community in New England has a strong presence at this March.  We are a large, important part of the New England community.  Our friends and neighbors are counting on us to support local causes as much as we do for India or within our community.  Please march and join the movement!

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