Ashwini Prasad is a South Asian Indian immigrant to Canada and the United States, but her life is more complex. She was born in Fiji Islands, raised in Calgary, AB and Vancouver, BC, and has spent her adult life in the United States, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. Equity and justice are her pillars as an anti-racist educator and screen writer.
Her pillars were rooted in college which is now over 20 years of experience in anti-racism, anti-oppression and social justice work with two Master’s degrees in these focus areas. For example, her first thesis was about incorporating ant-racist portfolio requirements to complete a college education, and her second thesis was about the intersectionality between non-violence and the Hindu caste system. One recent accomplishment is building a diversity, inclusion, and belonging plan for a school in a liberal arts college.
She let her creative pursuits go to the side, after completing her MBA – her third master’s, and she went on to thrive in the business world. Today, that determination and strategic and organizational skills are transferred to telling stories that stem from people erased or marginalized from history as the center. Their stories are our stories, and their rich perspectives deserve to be told and celebrated. Ashwini was inspired to connect her education and the lack of inclusivity in screenplays. The lack of inclusivity directly effects the content delivered to screens and other parts of writing, arts and entertainment. Diversity and inclusion in Hollywood has been a hot topic for year and change towards equity, justice and inclusion if finally happening. Ashwini is hopeful for change in diversity in Hollywood movies in 2020 and post-covid.
As a screenwriter, Ashwini cultivates safe spaces for storytelling. “Tapestry,” her first screenplay, is about sharing the South Asian Indian contributions in WW1 and the immigrant experience to a larger, non-academic audience and into popular culture. With this experience, she learned how to write steadily, 3 pages a day, and small wins lead to big wins – a full feature draft! A short which includes a Chinese lesbian couple, a trans woman, and multi-ethnic partnerships is also part of her writing portfolio.
In addition, her work, “Kismet,” is a combination of mainly comedy with some drama inspired by Never Have I Ever and Fleabag with a South Asian Indian, lesbian woman as the lead.
Ashwini is a firm believer in lifting others up to move from surviving, to striving, and then to thriving. The time has come for these safe spaces in arts and entertainment because the world has lost too much talent or not seen talent because of horrible indiscretions in the past. More information about Ashwini, including purchasing her e-book about inclusivity and how to write diverse characters, her “Inclusive Storytelling,” podcast, her coaching and facilitation services, writing, media, interviews and contact information are detailed on the site.
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