Philadelphia — The Indian American Impact Project (“Impact Project”) is pleased to announce the winners and finalists of its We Are Home Essay Contest, an opportunity open to undocumented and documented South Asian DREAMers who face many obstacles including constant uncertainty over their status and limited opportunities for employment, scholarships, and financial aid. “The dozens of submissions we received from students in more than 22 states reflect the need for comprehensive immigration reform” says Sarah Shah, Director of Community Engagement of the Impact Project. “These youth, who only know the United States as home, represent the very best of America and deserve a clear pathway to citizenship.”
First Place ($5,000) — Shristi Sharma, NC
Second Place ($2,500) — Manasvi Perisetty, TX
Tied for Third Place ($500)– Khushi Patel, IN
Tied for Third Place ($500)– Reet Mishra, CA
Finalists: Ayaan Siddiqui (AZ) ,Sneha Shrinivas (TX), Bhavey Jain (IN), Pareen Mhatre (IA), Sai Sumana Kaluvai (CA), Sarvani Kunapareddy (IL) Winners will receive cash prizes of up to $5,000 while all winners and finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C. for an event with special guests, and their essays published in Brown Girl Magazine. Shristi Sharma, first place winner and student at UNC-Chapel Hill, says, “I am incredibly grateful for Impact’s initiative to elevate the stories of documented dreamers like me. I never imagined getting such an honor and I’m thankful to be able to help bring visibility to our situation for the first time; knowing that people care about hearing our stories is extremely uplifting.” Shristi had the opportunity to read her winning poem in front of distinguished guests such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the Impact Project’s Diwali Reception on November 3rd, 2021 in Washington, DC. All of the winners’ stories can be accessed at www.iaimpact.org/essaycontest. We hope by sharing their stories, leaders and policy makers will understand that these DREAMers are Americans.
To advance civil rights of Indian American, South Asian, and all historically excluded communities, the Indian American Impact Project 501(c)(3) inspires civic engagement, builds community and coalitions, and ensures our diaspora’s history and lived experience is recognized as essential to the fabric of America.