The Collective

Meet some of the MANGO LASSI collective!

Nirva Parikh has been involved in social justice work for over 10 years – from South Asian community based organizing to securing good jobs for hard working folks.  Now, she continues this work as a community acupuncturist.  Her goal is to provide care that is available to those who are unable to access traditional forms of adequate healthcare.

Sahar Pirzada is a Pakistani-American Muslim woman from the Bay Area. Her dedication to serving the Muslim community draws from her extensive experience working as a organizer and educator within community spaces. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Development Studies, Sahar moved to Singapore where she worked as a Project Coordinator for a UN-funded regional project on promoting gender-equitable interpretations of Islam for the full adoption of CEDAW (pronounced see-dah). Since moving back in 2015, she has continued her activism by challenging Islamophobia as Co-Chair of #VigilantLOVE where she creatively organizes against the mosque-to-prison pipeline. She is also the Programs & Outreach Manager for HEART where she explores the intersections of islamophobia and gender-based violence and supports survivors of sexual violence in the Muslim community. She is currently pursuing her masters of social work at USC in the social change and innovation track. Sahar’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue, NPR, KPCC, Fusion’s Sex Right Now and the LA Times.

(she/her) Dr. SaunJuhi Verma is a scholar, writer, artist, and creator working on immigrant rights issues in a transnational context. Much of her passion and energy are invested into excavating the surveillance/policing infrastructure and its impact upon migrant rights. Her time is shared between being a Rutgers University Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations and building community efforts centered on empowerment through story telling. She has over 14 years of experience in labor organizing, policy, and research on devaluation of brown femme labor, racialization, and settler colonialism in a global context. Raised across the landscape of India, Canada, and the U.S. she identifies within multiple cultural homes. Much of her political education can be credited to elders in these communities. As a 1.5 generation, Utter Pradeshi, Hindi/Urdu speaking queer Desi, she strives to bring a blend of whimsy and play to visionary politics.

Natasha Khanna-DangHaving grown up in LA, it was really hard for me to find South Asians that were socially conscious or mildly progressive and I was not really connect to the community through my own family.  After college, I started working in the Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit industrial complex and got connect with like minded South Asian though South Asians for Justice-LA (which is now inactive). Since then I’ve been so happy to connect with community and to help with the MANGO LASSI collective. I am currently a worker owner of the Los Angeles Worm Farm Collective – a majority Asian American queer worker coop. I also work for a environmental nonprofit doing conservation, policy and organizing work. In my free time I like to play soccer, meditate, do yoga and garden.

Nikita Chaudhry is an artist and activist based between Los Angeles and New York. A Baltimore native, Nikita is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, from which she received a BFA with honors in Acting, minor in Performance Studies, and Honors Certificate in Theatre Studies. Along with her artistic pursuits, she is an organizer and educator, most recently working with the Womens March national team in New York. Nikita has also curated and facilitated educational programming, specifically on how to have conversations around identity in the classroom, workplace, home, and beyond. She works part-time as a fitness instructor, and aims to empower women, femmes, and GNC folks of color through kickboxing, boxing, dance, and storytelling. She hopes that her work will continue to serve as a catalyst for social change. More at nikitachaudhry.com, and on social media as @nikita.chaudhry

serena violet hodges’ work and work ethic are informed by transformative justice and facilitates community building. Her focus on the art of filmmaking is used as a means to capture and preserve activism and histories that are continually silenced and misrepresented. Serena holds a B.A. in Documentary Production from DePaul University. She began her community work in classrooms by learning about rarely taught histories alongside students who reiterated the importance of documentation of marginalized voices. She has worked on several film projects ranging from topics such as language in India, a sled dog race in northern Michigan, and the intersections of art and queer activism. She has worked for Kartemquin Films, Buzzfeed, Def Jam, the L.A. Philharmonic. Serena hopes to continue to make films that deal with racial justice and centering marginalized voices, but, above all, is driven to use the camera as a means to tap into our collective imaginations.

Nupur Behera is an Oriya-American who grew up eating kulfi on the mean streets of Little India, Los Angeles. Despite her South Asian roots, she is is still learning how to make her mom’s chai and is slowly beginning to appreciate Bollywood music videos. Nupur has served as a youth advocate through various organizations in California, NYC, and abroad. She believes in the care and healing of youth of color through listening, storytelling, and youth-led activism. She is eager to find creative ways to practice collective community care.

Samar Saif is a Honors Undergraduate at the University of California Los Angeles majoring in Sociology and Gender Studies. Some of her greatest skills are in artivism, community organizing, communication, risk assessment and holistic evaluation of vulnerable individuals, project management of small and large projects, and team leadership. She incorporates a perspective that centers a DIY ethos, intersectionality, healing, and abolitionist approach to her work and labor.  

LASSI is also comprised of: Akhil, Meenadchi, Shruti, Opulence, Preeti, Hina, and Marium