A Day in the Life at Open Society: Amardeep Singh

Growing up in New Jersey, you’d knock on a door, somebody would open the door, and look at me, the way I look, and I speak like someone who grew up in New Jersey. So you can see the cognitive dissonance, and then you keep talking and you break through. That, for me, is a metaphor for what we’re trying to do here at the Open Society Foundations. People get to meet each other, and you recognize someone for who they are. I spent 14 years combating hate crimes, employment discrimination, airport profiling, and school bullying on the Sikh community. I needed to step back away from the frontlines. I wanted the opportunity to try to make social change with a budget, make grants that are long term where we might not even know what the benefits are, but we know that eventually we’re setting the table for someone else to hail to some social justice victory. The program officers, we’re looking at every grant proposal for some sort of verifiable demonstration that the organization is making an impact. People who work here have deep experience with grassroots community organizing, and understand what it’s like to work on the frontlines on a social justice issue. I think that OSF stands for promoting the idea that people can be and should be their full selves. Now are we there yet? No. But have we set the marker? Absolutely.

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