Sawnet -Who's Who -
is the founding member of the Taxi Workers Alliance in New York. She works
long hours, sometimes without pay, to improve the conditions of
taxi drivers. She was born in India, and came to the US with her
parents at the age of 6. Daughter of working class immigrant parents,
she has a degree in Women's Studies from
Rutgers University, and worked for
South Asian women's organization in New Jersey.
Desai works long hours, often without pay, and has had astounding
success with the Taxi Workers Alliance.
She describes the taxi system in New York as
'a sweatshop on wheels'. A small, mild-mannered person who describes
herself as shy, she is unafraid and determined when drawing attention
to the inequities faced by the New York taxi drivers, 60% of whom
are Sikhs or Bangladeshi immigrants. A one-day strike in April '99
increased awareness of the problems, and membership in the TWA has
grown. The group takes on many issues -- unfair regulations,
medical checkups and health insurance for the drivers,
and fight using classic mass-activism tactics as well as in court.
- Newsclips & Links
of Desai in Time.
- The protest
generation. Rediff, May 99. Article about Desai, Ananya
Bhattarcharjee and other Indian-American activists.
- Profile of Desai in News
India-Times by Arun Aguiar.
Ms Foundation names Desai as one of its top 10 role models.
- Struggle of
the Taxi Driver, an article by Desai in Sangat Forum.
profile, also in Sangat.
successful than the next, an article about the South Asian taxi
drivers in NYC, by Elizabeth Kolsky in Sagar magazine.
York's cabbies show how multi-coloured racism can be. NYT, July 99.
forum hosts lecture on cabbies. India Abroad, 1 Oct 99.
Who makes it to this list?
Last updated 21 May 2013
Contact us at: info at sawnet dot org