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Lokvani Talks To Amit Dixit, Founder And Executive Director, SAAC

Nirmala Garimella

The term ‘activism and community engagement’ may assume a new dimension as Amit Dixit’s vision for the South Asian Arts Council takes shape. In 2007, Amit officially launched and became the Executive Director of South Asian Arts Council, a Boston based  nonprofit responsible for  bringing South Asian innovative arts programming to the various mainstream communities .

In addition to management and fundraising, the role he plays extensively is to focus on cultural programming, to which Amit brings a wealth of entrepreneurial   experience.  Born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, Amit Dixit came to Boston with his parents in 1973 and grew up in Jamaica Plain. A lifelong Massachusetts native, Amit love for the arts surfaced early in India. In 2012, he launched the first Diwali in Boston which was received with much acclaim. “I chose Diwali as a symbol of the struggle and victory of light over darkness”. Now every year, the lamp is lit at the State House. The honorable Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick participated in heralding this marquee event celebrating the achievements of the South Asian community, bringing its cultural traditions to Massachusetts' diverse communities.

As a technology and communications professional, Amit has developed and managed programs for digital conversion services and served on the boards of nonprofit organizations including Map for Health, Gay Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), The History Project, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA) and the Boston LGBT Film Festival.

The mission of SAAC is to generate greater visibility and connections of our rich diaspora to the larger audience. Amit elaborates, "As a community we are growing individually but it is the collective action that will bring about change’,“My appeal has always been that if you are confronted with an issue, raise your hand and fight it. We can become a force if we have the will to develop that mindset”. With this in mind, he has brought innovative programs like the recent Words on Water, talked to seniors in Malden at the center for vintage movie screenings, collaborated with local nonprofits and fought for causes of the Nepalese and the ISKCON community. He has also connected and engaged with various influence leaders  to bring awareness of issues affecting South Asians.

Upcoming projects  include a special screening of "Rafting to Bombay" at Temple Emunah in Lexington on August 24, 2014 and an October book event  on the theme, Fighting in Justice, through our own stories’  in collaboration with the Boston Book Fair festival and a voter registration campaign. Amit also urges the diaspora to support him with resources and funding to realize the mission of SAAC to bring quality programming and awareness of the rich heritage of South Asia. As he puts it , “We are in this together. The only way to gain greater visibility and connections is to support each other.”

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For more about SAAC click on http://www.southasianartscouncil.org/

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