The Aerogram began as a curated take on South Asian art, literature, life and news. Today it is so much more to so many people. We’ve grown and evolved. We offer exclusive interviews with writers, painters, actors and more. We document pop culture movements. We connect people and communities. Over a year ago, we started The Aerogram with a simple mission. We launched on Valentine’s Day 2013 with the aim of commemorating and building on the nostalgic age of aerograms. We wrote:
In today’s world of smartphones and social media, it’s easy to forget the ways our parents sent and received their news. Before there were satellite dishes and calling cards, there was the aerogram. A small, light piece of paper purchased from the post office that was both stamped envelope and letter. Inside, our parents wrote their worlds and shared it with their relatives back home.
In the past year, we’ve grown to become a community of people who work together to make change. Like last week, when a small group of youth leaders in California from the Jakara Movement read our post about the El Paso 37 — a group of young men from Punjab, India, seeking political asylum. Almost a year ago, they came to America. They’ve been imprisoned in a detention facility since that time. Within days of our post about their hunger fast protesting their treatment, Jakara Movement youth connected with activist group 18 Million Rising and organized a caravan of people who drove 60 hours to the detention center in El Paso, Texas, to protest the plight of the Sikh detainees seeking asylum.
It was a powerful statement. And that’s just the start.
With your support, we hope to continue growing a strong community that supports its most vulnerable members. Whether it’s detainees on a hunger strike or young artists whose work has never been featured by traditional media.
Since The Aerogram’s launch in February 2013, our reporting has been quoted or referenced in other publications including the New York Daily News, Jezebel, Gawker, The Root, The Hollywood Reporter, Racialicious, India Abroad, Salon, Slate, Firstpost and Business Standard — proving there is a growing need for this kind of coverage. The Billfold recently said we were among the sites “publishing some of the best cultural analysis on the internet.”
Credit for our broad coverage of the South Asian diaspora goes to our readers, our writers and, of course, our founders. Today we’re saddened to bid farewell to one of our founding members, Lakshmi Gandhi. Her work and support as one of the co-founders of The Aerogram was invaluable in establishing us as one of the leading online South Asian American voices.
The Aerogram is a space where many voices can be amplified at once. We look forward to connecting our voices to many others in the coming months in the form of collaborations and partnerships with community organizations, other media sites and undiscovered writers.
We will continue to bring you the high-quality, curated content you have come to expect from The Aerogram. Will we make mistakes? Probably. Do we need your help? Definitely. Will we have to quit our day jobs? We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Remember — like its namesake, this labor of love may take a little while to get to you. But as always, we hope you’ll find it worth the wait, and take a look inside when it arrives.