DASJ & Covid-19
In the context of these unprecedented times, the DASJ team has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 award ceremony and symposium, originally scheduled for August 15. Uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic has intensified in recent months, particularly in South Asia, and the public health risks posed by a large-scale gathering such as DASJ must be prioritized.
This change in plans was not a decision we reached lightly. Our team has deliberated at length with one another, with our organizing partners, with other social justice colleagues in and outside of Nepal— and, most importantly, with other members our own community of Nepali Dalits. We understand what this recognition means to those who receive it, and what it means for our community to be in a position to give an award like this. We understand how important it is to gather academics, activists, journalists, policymakers, and other advocates for equality together to share ideas and learn from one another.
But we also understand that protecting the safety of all of our communities, particularly those most vulnerable to a virus like COVID-19, is most important. In the meantime, we will continue working tirelessly on behalf of marginalized communities in Nepal and beyond, and look forward to when we can gather with all of you and continue taking this fight forward.
Whether the award ceremony takes place in August of 2021 or at another date in the future, know that we stand firm in our commitment to young change-makers and will continue moving forward with the selection process for our next awardee by reviewing all nominee submissions we have received to date.
Though the DASJ symposium cannot take place this August as initially planned, we will persist in finding other ways to celebrate the short but extraordinary life of Suvash Darnal and recognize the work of other tireless young leaders. We will keep you updated as this progresses, but in the meantime, if you have any ideas or would like to help us support marginalized communities in Nepal during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
As we say in Nepal, ekta nai baal ho: Unity is strength. Let’s stay united, and stay safe.