One of my favorite parts of CDYR was the workshop on South Asian history with professors Shefali Chandra and Junaid Rana. We discussed everything from Partition and Hindu nationalism to settler-colonialism and ISIS. These were topics that I was somewhat familiar with, but I had never explored them with a South Asian lens. Especially during the timing of the retreat when the Israeli war on Gaza was occurring, it was fascinating to learn about how the partition of South Asia was engineered by the same white imperialists who created the state of Israel.
Over one weekend in August 2015, three South Asian American youth camps took place across the US: Bay Area Solidarity Summer (BASS) in Oakland, CA, Chicago Desi Youth Rising (CDYR) in Chicago, IL and East Coast Solidarity Summer (ECSS) in New York City, NY. In an effort to collaborate long-distance, camp organizers asked the youth participants to collectively define three key concepts at the beginning and end of their camp expereinces. Below is a summary along with reflections on the camp experience.
Flash back to the first time you met another Desi lefty. Can you remember the quickening of your heart? Your excitement at finding someone who cared about the same issues and communities? For most of us, the moment we realized we weren’t alone in the world, struggling against the conservative expectations of our parents, aunties and uncles - when we realized that we had sisters and brothers in the cause who understand where we come from and where we wanted this world to go - was life-changing.