ECSS is an independent volunteer collective project, and we thank our organizers!
Hi! I'm Melissa (she/they), a Philly-based organizer, educator, and writer/researcher. I am a soon-to-be lecturer in the University of Pennsylvania's Critical Writing program, and a workplace researcher, focusing on how academic support staff members write, navigate power, and tell stories in the workplace. I am a founding sister of the Philadelphia Chapter of NAPAWF and an organizer with Philly South Asian Collective. I am deeply interested in using trauma-informed/empathy-centered and femme-centered approaches to organizing. In my free time, I love to read fiction, write, go on food adventures with friends, cook, and spend time with my partner and our cats.
Dedunu is a twenty-something Sri Lankan born and raised in Staten Island, NY. She has worked in NYC schools on various capacities, including social work, research & evaluation, and currently, as a teaching artist & critical literacy instructor. She enjoys collectively building upon radical education with NYCoRE, deconstructing precarious labor with Intern Labor Rights, and engaging in participatory theatre with The Forum Project. Dedunu finds peace in DIY projects, spirituality, drums, sci-fi/fantasy, improv, and playwriting.
Hi I'm Shabana! I'm a Kashmiri from the DC area, who currently lives in Richmond, VA. I am a graduate student working on my masters in sociology. My research is focused on identity formation and racialization of the South Asian diaspora in the US. I also do organizing work with POCollective and Southerns On New Ground (SONG) and serve as the execitive director of the National Association for Ethnic Studies. In my free time I love talking endlessly about my cat and the liberation of Kashmir.
Lohitha Kethu (she / her)
Lohitha is an Indian Telugu queer femme artist & medical illustration student: most days she draws bugs and plants for a living but is also deeply invested in creating and distributing accessible medical information and resources for people of color who are taken advantage of and mistreated by the medical industrial complex. In her free time she likes to discover new POC art & music, draw comics, sleep, and bike.
Viraj (she/her) is a community organizer, activist, and higher education administrator working in multicultural affairs, specifically with Pan-Asian American students, based in Philadelphia, PA. Valuing an interdisciplinary and multi-methods approach to serving as a change agent, Viraj also organizes with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective (www.philly-psac.org) and is a founding sister of the Philadelphia Chapter of NAPAWF. Viraj also serves as a member of the Advisory Council for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. Her approach to social change is heavily rooted in transnational feminism, critical race theory, grassroots organizing, femme-centered leadership, and community building for change. Her favorite things in the world are Deep Dish Pizza, Netflix marathons, and running.
Sonalee (she/they) is a social worker, sex therapist, and organizer based in South Jersey. This will be her third summer at ECSS, and she is excited to bring her contributions on radical body image, colonialism, femme organizing models, and sexuality. She also organizes adults with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective. In her free time she reads nonfiction, collects stationary, travels distances to try new and exotic donuts, and presents fresh ideas at regional conferences. Her family is inter-caste from Maharashtra and UP/Bihar, while living with immense Jersey pride. JERSEYSTRONG.
Ishan Bose is an Indian Bengali born and raised in central Virginia. He is currently studying Economics and Statistics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ishan believes strongly in solidarity between people of color and supports organizations created by PoC meant to uplift PoC and dismantle white supremacy. In his free time, he likes to watch movies on Netflix and think about poetry (occasionally writing as well).
Shomya (she/her) is a reluctant twenty-something and (confusingly proud) Oriya Texan living in DC. She works as a Youth Organizer with young people across the country advocating for sexual and reproductive justice, and strives to bring an anti-racist and intersectional perspective to all her work. She is a lover of hip-hop, bhangra, and taco bell and spends much of her spare time staring at her phone.
Zoya (she/her) is a Washington, DC-based researcher, writer, and graduate student. Her work focuses on gender, diaspora, colonialism and post-colonialism, transnational migration and labor rights, and Middle Eastern and South Asian studies. She enjoys tending to her jasmine plant and loves a good dosa.
Eshani (she/her) is a Capricorn twenty-something graduate of Rutgers University who's still kind of hanging out around there trying to figure her life out. She is passionate about reproductive justice work, and plans to eventually (one day, in the very distant future) become an OB/GYN and abortion provider. In her free time, she's probably watching a show she's already seen a thousand times on Netflix, searching for the perfect cup of coffee, or pretending to organize her life.
Also thanks to organizers Chaya Babu, Sarah Garfur, and our supporters Rashmee Kumar, Nina Narang, Zaira Qureshi, Soha Sanchorawala, Hima Sathian, and Mitali Thakor.