Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Deepa Iyer is the Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national, non-profit organization in the Washington DC area. Ms. Iyer has guided SAALT's direction on policy advocacy, programs and partnerships since 2004. An attorney by training, Ms. Iyer has previously worked at Asian American legal organizations as well as the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she litigated immigration-related unfair employment practices and addressed the post September 11th backlash facing South Asian, Muslim, Sikh and Arab American communities.
Regarded as an expert on the impact of September 11th on immigrants and minority communities, Ms. Iyer is the Executive Producer of a documentary on hate crimes, has written extensively on the post 9/11 backlash, and taught classes at Columbia University, Hunter College and the University of Maryland. Most recently, she served as the guest editor of Race/Ethnicity, a journal on the ten year anniversary of September 11th, in collaboration with the Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. For her work around 9/11 issues, Ms. Iyer has received community leadership awards from the Asian Pacific Institute for Congressional Studies, Chhaya CDC, and the Sikh Coalition. Ms. Iyer has been quoted and featured in print and media outlets including the New York Times, Huffington Post, and community press.
Ms. Iyer is the Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and a member of the Board of Directors of the Applied Research Center. She lives with her husband and son in Silver Spring, Maryland, and curates a blog about mothers who are activists for social change.