Dhanya Addanki

Associate Web Editor

I am most comfortable in the company of others, trying to find foundation in a single word or phrase upon which I can build a mighty story. 

As Associate Web Editor at Sojourners, I'm always asking how we can bring different layers and perspectives to stories. I navigate between reporter, opinion writer, and editor, all through the lens of understanding how policy, representation in media, and language affect people groups and individuals. Through this, I construct stories of privilege, identity, and culture and study how these factors affect issues of justice, equality, equity, and faith in comunities across the globe. I am curious about how people in poverty, people of color, and marginalized people are represented in our current media. And I ask, how do these representations affect our culture today? How can we change negative representation and give the people power through story? 

I was born in South India and raised in South Texas and experience culture shock almost daily. When I'm not doing journalistic things, you can find me curled up in a blanket watching 90s cartoons. 

Posts By This Author

Photos from the Women's March 2018

by Dhanya Addanki 01-20-2018

On Jan. 20, one year since President Donald Trump's inauguration and nearly a year since the world's largest protest in history, thousands gathered in cities across the nation for the Women's March — this year focused on driving people to the polls in 2018. These are photos from the march in Washington, D.C.

Generations of Strength

by Dhanya Addanki 12-01-2017
You Bring the Distant Near, by Mitali Perkins. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

THIS IS A BOOK I wish I could have had when I was 15.

While there are numerous (and much needed) stories about the immigrant experience, Mitali Perkins’ young adult novel, You Bring the Distant Near, fully captures nuances of relationships, racism, death, family, feminism, sexism, and love in profound ways. It’s a story that’s not often told with such clarity and depth.

Reading this book was like staring into a mirror and seeing my reflection—sometimes surprised, sometimes in tears, and other times nodding in understanding.

It weaves together the lives of five women from three generations—Ranee, Tara, Sonia, Anna, and Chantal (nicknamed Shanti)—and focuses on Tara and Sonia’s journey from when they were teenagers to when they were mothers with successful careers.

Ranee is a strong-willed, stay-at-home, Indian (Bengali) immigrant mother who comes to the U.S. with her husband for opportunity. She is the mother of Tara and Sonia. Tara is charming, peacemaking, and theatrical in the best ways. She is a shape-shifter of sorts, able to fold into any culture by studying and learning what traits she needs to be the most ideal version of that culture (when she arrives in the U.S. she emulates Marcia Brady). Sonia is fiercely intelligent, outspoken, and a brilliant writer. Anna is Tara’s creative, brazen daughter who is proud of her Indian roots. Shanti is Sonia’s athletic and easygoing daughter who loves math and dance.

Each woman represents a different side of femininity that together shows the reader the importance of multiple, empowering narratives.

Jonathan Martin: Being Forcibly Removed From Liberty University Campus was ‘Unnerving’

by Dhanya Addanki 11-03-2017

Image via Taber Andrew Bain/Flickr

“At the time it was pretty unnerving, because I knew enough about Falwell’s authoritarian instincts,” Martin told Sojourners. “I wasn’t expecting this amazing welcome, but I certainly didn’t expect to be forcibly thrown off the campus.”

Me Too: So Now What?

by Dhanya Addanki 10-18-2017

Image via Abd. Halim Hadi/ shutterstock

4. Do not wait to have a daughter to finally respect women.

You can respect us because we are human, with all of the glory, nuance, and mess that comes with it. You do not need to imagine a woman as your mother or aunt or cousin to respect her. You can respect her because of the soul that she carries and the life that she lives. Her relationship to you, her partner, her father, or anyone else should not be what defines your respect.

Safe House

by Dhanya Addanki 09-18-2017
As the Trump administration continues its attacks against immigrants, churches offer sanctuary, and more, to people under threat.
Credit: Jake Holschuh

Rosa Sabido at Mancos UMC. (Credit: Jake Holschuh)

WHEN I FIRST SPOKE with Rosa Sabido, she had been in sanctuary at Mancos United Methodist Church in Colorado for 75 days. She sleeps in a makeshift room in what used to be the church’s nursery, the head of her bed resting against a small mural of Noah’s Ark. Members of the church donated a bed, a dresser, and a computer with internet access and also installed a shower in the room itself.

Most days she has visitors, including members of the church and her parents, who take turns sleeping in a nearby office during the night and keep Sabido company during the day. She bakes when she feels inspired and sometimes joins church members in practicing yoga. But Sabido is clear: Sanctuary isn’t glamorous.

“The hardest thing is having to depend on someone,” said Sabido. “I have always been self-sufficient, always working to fulfill my needs and my parents’ needs.”

Sabido was raised in Mexico City but fled to the U.S. in 1987 due to the city’s increasing violence; she was 23. For the past 30 years, Sabido has lived in Cortez, Colo., a small town where her mother is a legal resident and her stepfather is a naturalized citizen. Sabido worked as a secretary at a nearby church and prepared taxes at H&R Block, using her salary to support her parents.

But since Sabido didn’t have documents that would allow her to stay in the U.S. permanently, she used visitor visas to travel between Mexico and the U.S. In 1998, she was stopped at the airport and deported back to Mexico City. 

How To Raise Tiny Activists

by Dhanya Addanki 07-14-2017

Image via Dhanya Addanki/ Sojourners 

Help them understand they have a voice.

Elizabeth Brandt, a mom and a participant of the play-in, takes her young daughters to her senators’ office. She believes she believes this will lay a foundation for her daughter to speak up throughout her life.

“She may not have the most articulate things to say — last year when she was three she asked them not to throw trash in the ocean which our senators don’t do — but she’s learning that she has a voice in this process and that’s about the most important thing,” said Brandt.

Meet the Christians Working to Abolish the Death Penalty

by Dhanya Addanki 06-27-2017

Image via Jp Keenan/ Sojourners 

For Christians, interpretations of what the Bible says about capital punishment vary significantly. But many Christian leaders — from mainline Protestants and Catholics to evangelicals — take a strong stance against capital punishment.

‘Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol 2.’ and the Submissive Asian Woman Trope

by Dhanya Addanki 05-18-2017

Image via Gaurdians of the Galexy Facebook Page 

This is reminiscent of a time when European and American men went to Asia in the attempt to save Asian women from their own countries, or use Asian women for their pleasure, or — in many cases — both. In Pierre Loti’s 1983 novel, Madame Chrysanthéme, he writes a story of an affair between a French naval officer and a wife he’s taken in Japan. Loti describes the woman and her friends as docile, submissive, and overtly feminine, much like how Mantis is described by other characters in the movie, from Ego to the overtly masculine Drax.

At Summit on Global Christian Persecution, Pence Calls Trump Champion of Religious Freedom

by Dhanya Addanki 05-11-2017

Image via Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com

“I’m here on behalf of Donald Trump as a tangible sign of his commitment to defending Christians and frankly all who suffer for their beliefs across the wide world,” Pence told a crowd of about 600 people. “We stand here today as a testament to the president’s tangible commitment to reaffirm America’s role as a beacon of hope and light and liberty to inspire the world.”

ICE Raids Near Sensitive Locations Stoke Fear in Immigrant Communities

by Dhanya Addanki 03-02-2017

Image via Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock

No one has yet been willing to provide information about what Rising Hope Mission Church pastor Keary Kincannon calls a "confusing ordeal."

"We have no idea where they are, and we’re hearing reports that guards won’t even give detainees their one call," Kincannon said.