An influential social justice advocacy group leader who claimed to be a woman of color is actually white, the Intercept reported.
"I'm as white as the driven snow and so is she," Raquel Evita Saraswati's mother, Carol Perone, told the outlet.
"She’s chosen to live a lie, and I find that very, very sad," Perone added.
Saraswati, born Rachel Elizabeth Seidel, is a Muslim activist who serves as the chief equity, inclusion, and culture officer for the progressive American Friends Service Committee.
"I call her Rachel," Perone said of her daughter.
For years, Saraswati has claimed to be a woman of color. Specifically, she claimed to be of Latin, South Asian, and Arab descent.
Perone told the Intercept Saraswati's ethnic heritage is German and British on her mother's side and Calabrese Italian on her now-deceased father's side.
Perone provided the outlet with childhood photographs of Saraswati, in which her complexion is "significantly lighter than the bronzed look in more recent photographs." Another relative, who asked not to be named, also confirmed that Saraswati is white.
AFSC, a Quaker organization, describes itself as being "on the forefront of social change movements." Its office of Equity, Inclusion, & Culture, led by Saraswati, aims to become "more equitable, inclusive, and in alignment with AFSC's commitment to anti-oppression principles."
Oskar Pierre Castro, who was on the team that sought to fill the position Saraswati currently holds, says she presented herself as a "queer, Muslim, multi-ethnic woman."
Further complicating matters, some AFSC members have expressed concern that Saraswati may be deceiving the organization in such a way as would undermine its mission.
In an "open letter" posted to Medium and confirmed by the Intercept to be from AFSC members, the members note that Saraswati had appeared on right-leaning networks presenting herself as a moderate Muslim critical of Islamic extremism.
An unnamed AFSC leader told the Intercept they were fearful that Saraswati could be "an agent, because she started her career right-wing. She was a token Muslim voice in that milieu."
"Imagine the trauma of people who confided in her, trusted her, and shared sensitive information about their work and about their lives, thinking that she’s a fellow person of color," the AFSC leader also told the outlet, referring to Saraswati. "And now all of a sudden, it’s a white woman with a right-wing history. It’s scary."
MidPoint | Raquel Evita Saraswati speaks out against radical Muslimsyoutu.be
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