The senior inclusion officer of a Philadelphia-based social justice group has been mendacity about her ethnic identification for years — claiming she is a lady of colour regardless of being “as white because the pushed snow,” her mom alleges.
Raquel Evita Saraswati, 39, who was born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, is the chief fairness, inclusion and tradition officer of the American Mates Service Committee, which fights “violence, inequality and oppression,” The Intercept reported.
The Muslim activist, who has entry to information of the progressive Quaker group’s staff and volunteers, has claimed for years to be of Latin, South Asian and Arab descent.
However her mom, Carol Perone, stated Saraswati is definitely of British, German and Italian descent.
“I name her Rachel. I don’t know why she’s doing what she’s doing,” Perone instructed The Intercept. “I’m as white because the pushed snow and so is she.”
She added: “I’m German and British, and her father was Calabrese Italian She’s chosen to dwell a lie, and I discover that very, very unhappy.”
Perone stated her daughter transformed to Islam in highschool and for some cause felt compelled to current a distinct ethnic identification.
The mom shared with The Intercept pictures that present Saraswati with a far lighter complexion when she was a baby, in addition to her Ancestry.com profile. She requested the outlet to not publish the photographs.
One other member of the family, who requested to not be recognized, confirmed to The Intercept that Saraswati is white.
Oskar Pierre Castro, a human sources official who helped AFSC rent Saraswati, was instructed she was a “queer, Muslim, multiethnic girl,” in keeping with the information outlet.
“In my thoughts it was, ‘Nice, an individual of colour, a queer individual of colour, who occurs to be a Muslim, it’s a lady, all these items, and somebody who appeared to get it,” Castrol instructed The Intercept.
“I undoubtedly really feel conned. … I really feel deceived,” he added.
AFSC rep Layne Mullett instructed the outlet that the group has acquired “documentation alleging that our Chief Fairness, Inclusion, and Tradition Officer, Raquel Saraswati, has been misrepresenting her identification.”
Mullett stated Saraswati “stands by her identification. Raquel additionally assures us that she stays loyal to AFSC’s mission, which we firmly imagine.”
He added that “AFSC doesn’t require any worker to ‘show’ their heritage as a situation of their employment, or with a view to be valued as a member of our crew.”
Some AFSC members have expressed issues that Saraswati could also be harboring a hidden political agenda and is engaged on behalf of teams that search to undermine the group.
An nameless letter posted on Medium that The Intercept confirmed was penned by the members claims that after 9/11 Saraswati appeared on right-wing TV reveals, the place she was described as a “reasonable” Muslim important of Islamic extremism.
“We hope that this may catalyze additional truth-telling and accountability,” the letter reportedly states, calling for the AFSC to research whether or not there are “exterior entities with whom Saraswati is collaborating.”
A high AFSC official instructed The Intercept that “persons are involved,” including that “there’s a worry that she could possibly be an agent, as a result of she began her profession right-wing. She was a token Muslim voice in that milieu. She by no means publicly apologized.”
The official spoke on situation of anonymity to keep away from retaliation.
“Think about the trauma of people that confided in her, trusted her, and shared delicate details about their work and about their lives, considering that she’s a fellow individual of colour,” the chief instructed the outlet.
“And now unexpectedly, it’s a white girl with a right-wing historical past. It’s scary,” the supply added.
Saraswati didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark from The Intercept.
“I guarantee those that as quickly as I’m succesful, I’ll present solutions to the latest dialogue and assault on me,” she wrote on Fb on Saturday. “I perceive all of the reactions you’re having. I’m presently taking the time to get to the place I can reply in a means that’s most useful and thorough.
Saraswati’s case is paying homage to that of infamous race faker Rachel Dolezal, a former NAACP chapter president in Spokane, Washington, who falsely posed as a black girl in 2015.
Her Caucasian mother and father offered her beginning certificates and a stack of blond, green-eyed childhood pictures as proof of her true racial identification.
Extra just lately, Republican Lengthy Island Rep. George Santos has been caught in an internet of lies, together with claiming that he’s Jewish – later insisting that he meant he was “Jew-ish.”
Media commentator Sana Saeed first introduced up Saraswati’s identification 2015, when she tweeted: “Can we speak about ‘Raquel Dolezal’ within the Muslim group. Y’all know who I imply.”
Saeed instructed The Intercept that the Saraswati controversy “places a pointy, shiny gentle on … the DEI business itself,” referring to range, fairness and inclusion.
“Did AFSC not vet their candidates, like Raquel?” she stated.