Desis Rising Up and Moving

“Rooted in Strong Cross-Community Alliances”

Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) founded in 2000 has mobilized the leadership of thousands of low-income, South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrants to lead social and policy change that impacts their own lives- immigrant rights, education reform, civil rights, and workers justice. DRUM’s movement for justice is rooted in base building, leadership development, running short and long term campaigns to reform policies on all levels, strong cross-community alliances locally and nationally, and building democratic and mass participatory spaces for people otherwise marginalized from shaping public policy.  DRUM convenes the Hate-Free Zone to create a community defense system through programs like Know Your Rights, institutional engagement, ICE Cop Watch, and anti-street harassment trainings.

DRUM’s leadership and national advocacy led to the Department of Homeland Security eliminating the regulations that formed the basis of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, a special program for registering Muslims within the United States.

Guiding Vision

DRUM’s long-term vision is to build the power of immigrant workers in the U.S in unity with all workers and communities for human rights. They see their movements for justice in the U.S. rooted in working in solidarity with people of the Global South for just global trade, economic, and foreign policies. Their cornerstone is building strong cross-community alliances across the U.S. and globe to amplify progressive movements- with African Americans, Latinos, Indigenous communities, Arab and Middle Eastern communities, labor, youth, civil rights, and Global South movements from Egypt, to South Asia, to Latin America.


Racial & Immigrant Justice Program

  • Won new guidelines from NYC Department of Education to add moderate protection for students against ICE agents.
  • Co-led protest and backlash against the Muslim and Refugee ban, leading to court ruling halting the ban
  • Successfully ended the NSEERS (Special Registrations) program by collect over 300,000 online petitions and direct action in DC
  • Won protection of local neighborhood street vendors against targeting and harassment by hostile business owners association and NYPD
  • DRUM provides members with pro-bono legal representation and advice in immigration and labor law. They also provide translations for letters and court documents, referrals for services in housing, public benefits, domestic violence, health care and job training.
  • DRUM runs a monthly clinics staffed with attorneys from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund to provide free consultations and casework on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications, renewals, and application follow-up. The monthly clinics also  help provide free advice and casework on deportation proceedings, asylum claims, and green-card and citizenship processes.