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What I Love About Laal: A Reflection of Love at Laal

By: Mohua Sultana, Programs & Research Coordinator

I have been working here for about a year now and it has truly marked a special place in my heart. From our members to the staff, Laal has made me feel incredibly welcomed, safe, and inspired. Not many would say that they love their job, but I genuinely, and wholeheartedly, can say I love my job. For this month of love, I want to particularly highlight how Laal has refined my ideas of love.

1. Communal Love

Here at Laal we want to build a community of Bengali womxn that live engaged, joyful, and healthy lives. Not only does Laal try to make love and joy the center of one’s lives, but also the center of our work.  Love and joy play significant roles in community building. It fosters empathy, cooperation, and a sense of belonging among community members, creating a foundation of trust and support that strengthens social bonds and facilitates collaborative efforts toward common goals, ultimately enhancing community resilience and well-being. From our events to our programs, our members time and time again will let us know how much they appreciate having a place to call their own. I’ve never thought work would be synonymous to family, but with all the love at Laal, it truly feels like a home away from home.

2. Self Love:

Laal has taught me the importance of self love. At Laal, our members and staff are routinely encouraged to engage in self care and self love, both which are essential for nurturing mental and emotional well-being. We have a mental health support group for our members, led by Mousumi Sabina, Laal’s Mental Health Consultant, to address the pervasive issue of loneliness and provide an environment where our members can prioritize self-care and recognize that societal expectations often lead to self-sacrifice. Additionally, Laal is currently the first Bengali organization to be on the federal budget and through our ARP Wellness grant, staff receive monthly stipends for self care purposes. I am grateful for this because I have not been able to prioritize self care for a while, and Laal has reminded me that in order to produce the best work, I need to take care of myself. Bengali organizations that promote radical self love on such a scale are unheard of in the United States. It makes me proud to be a part of an organization that encourages self love for both members and staff.  

3. Intimate Love:

While I never received proper sex education growing up, working on Laal’s Reproductive Justice Initiative (RJI) with Hamida Chumpa, the creator of RJI, and leading classes has opened my eyes to new information at this grown age. Laal's culturally specific sex education has not only made our members comfortable talking about their lives but has also brought out a sense of comfort in me to talk about my life with a community of my own people. This is not something I ever thought I would be able to do because of the stigma surrounding sex and intimacy. Moreover, being a part of coalitions such as South Asian SOAR, in addition to our very own RJI, has also helped me identify unhealthy relationship habits and how to access resources in times of need. All in all, not only do our members learn about topics that may be unfamiliar to them, but I am right alongside learning with them.

Laal is truly a place of love, making revolutionary change within the Bengali community. When I was younger I always wished to have a place like this– a place where innovative ideas can be introduced and stigmatized topics can be addressed within my community.  With your love and support, Laal can continue its vital work in addressing social issues and making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities we serve.


Laal Programs

Currently, we have 11 programs: ESL (3 levels), Mental Health Support Group, Yoga, RJI, Citizenship Prep/Immigration Rights Workshops, Digital Literacy, Political Education, Office Hours (for additional assistance), Laal Ranna, Laal Baghan, and Laal X (highlighted further below).


Mohua Sultana leading Political Education, Fall 2023

I myself have created and led our Digital Literacy and Political Education programs. Many of our members do not have the time and resources to keep up with current political events or adapt to technological changes. It brings me joy to see our womxn have the ambition and the curiosity to learn about topics and engage in activities that are not always encouraged in the Bengali community.


Graphic created by Mohua Sultana

Since the occupation of Palestine, Palestinians have shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity, enduring decades of oppression and displacement. True communal love can be found within Palestine as our Palestinian brother and sisters are fighting to keep the limited resources they have active for their people in the midst of a genocide.

Ending the occupation is not only a matter of justice but also a crucial step towards ending the cycle of violence and building a future of dignity and peace for Palestinians. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!


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