Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best wishes for 2012

Dear Khush members,

As we countdown the descent of the 2012 New Year’s ball (45,900 seconds to go!), I'd like to take a second to reflect on what Khush has accomplished this past year and where I see opportunity for us in the new year.

For me, it’s been a year that started with meeting the many great Khush members at my first event last January to where I sit today as the president of this thriving and vital organization. People regularly ask me why I joined the board and the answer is that I wanted to share my stories and hear yours -- stories about happiness, fear, sadness, hope, and empowerment.

As a board, we've discussed some of those stories and they've motivated us to organize social events like the Hadippa Happy Hour and winter potluck, advocacy events such as "Why the Violence?" and the legal struggles for South Asian LGBTQ people forums, and intimate events like our Chai 'N' Chat meet-ups. For a year-end review video of some of what we have accomplished towards the latter part of 2011 check out a little video we put together:

While I'm proud of our successes as a new board, we did have our fair share of struggles. Foremost among them, we lost a member of our community, Gaurav Gopalan, to hate and ignorance. As a board that was only one-month old, we unfortunately didn't have all of the answers. However, we did have an amazing support network of other South Asian LGBTQ leaders, who were willing to give us a hand. One such person was Shiva Subbaraman, who helped us write a press release, contact the police, media, and much more. Also, we had others like Sapna Pandya, who led the charge towards discussing "Why the Violence" in the larger queer people of color communities. We also saw DC's South Asian queer community come together at the vigil to stand-up against hate and violence; this was a powerful moment for me as a reminder of our support network as a community.

And now, I'd like to share our hopes for the new year. We want to continue to push the police and others to investigate Gaurav's death, we want to work towards building a stronger, active, and more inclusive Khush, and we want to continue sharing stories so that others can know what it means to be khush (happy). Here are some of the events we have lined up for 2012 that we hope to see you at:

Sunday, January 8 - Potluck for anyone who does not identify as male (RSVP to

January – Inaugural book club meeting – we’ll send you the name of the book very soon!

February - Chai 'N' Chat, possible happy hour

Early March - Jalwa party (date/time being finalized) - we'll need your help for this.

June – D.C. Pride March - design the float (yes, we're going to have a float in 2012!) and panel discussion (topic TBD). We'll be soliciting folks for the Pride committee, so please sign-up.

Fall - Political discussion about 2012 candidates

If you have any other ideas for events you’d like to see, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe 2012,

[Originally sent to KhushDC members on December 31, 2011 at 11:15am ET]