Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
(Originally Posted: June 2, 2020)
As our country faces the murder of yet another Black male at the hands of police brutality, it not only sickens my heart, but also causes me to reflect on the need for all members of the Black diaspora to come together.
In my conversations with friends and family members from other places in the world, including: the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America, I keep hearing the same rhetoric of not wanting to associate with the problems that African-Americans face in this country. However, the disease of racism and the history of discrimination in this country is not solely reserved for African-Americans. Yes, our histories, cultures, and languages are different. Our different country’s relationships with colonization and racism are different; yet I am asking us to come together on common ground–on the basis that our skin color has the same shades and tones and hues, and to recognize that it is our complexion that subjects us to racial profiling, to injustice, and to institutionalized racism in this country, regardless of what countries we originally hail from. I am urging us to see that when a racist officer looks at a Black person, he is not making a distinction between African-Americans, Jamaicans, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Somalis, or even those who are half White. As a result, we must all be careful, and we must all have the unfortunate conversation with our sons about how to have peaceful interactions with the police that do not escalate to another life being lost.
Yes, as members of the Black diaspora, we each have beautiful stories, ethnicities, languages, cultures, and histories within our larger race. However, we must also remember to stick together, to unite under the umbrella of being “Black in America,” to support one another in business, and to stand up firm against injustice when we see it and experience it. For our immigrant brothers and sisters amongst the diaspora, the discrimination includes additional layers. Being an immigrant comes with its own challenges–learning a new language, prejudice against our religion, and more. Supporting one another is a necessity, not an option.
Below are a few organizations that support the work of racial equality, accountability for the murders of Black lives, and community development:
1) “Families for Justice as Healing” works to end the incarceration of women and girls. They do grass roots organizing in communities of color to dismantle systems of oppression. http://justiceashealing.org.
2) “Violence in Boston” is a community-based organization that advocates for a trauma-focused approach to healing Black and Brown communities and reducing violence. They are organizing tonight’s (6/2/20) march in Boston and have also been active in doing food drives during the pandemic. https://www.violenceinboston.org
3) “Mass Bail Fund” posts bail for anyone held on $500 or less https://www.massbailfund.org
4) “The ACLU of Massachusetts” fights to protect people’s civil rights and civil liberties through litigation, legislative reform, and grass roots advocacy http://aclum.org
5) “Boston Branch of the NAACP” is one of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations (and the oldest branch). They continue to be one of the most important voices and advocates for the Black community. https://www.naacpboston.com
6) “Muslim Justice League” advocates for communities impacted by national security and police surveillance. https://www.muslimjusticeleague.org
7) “Embrace Race” is a great resource for families who want to “raise a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed, and brave about race” https://www.embracerace.org/
8) “Tolerance” provides free resources and materials to educators (all parents are educators now) working with 5 – 18 year old youth https://www.tolerance.org/
9) This Book is Anti-racist by Montessori elementary teacher Tiffany Jewel provides “20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work”
10) 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice is an article full of action steps White people can take in using their privilege to stand up against police brutality.
11) “Wee The People” Day of Action Though this event date passed, the action items can still be taken over the days, weeks, and months to come. These are also action items that can be done with children in making them aware of social injustice and honoring the lives of those lost to it.
12) “Black Lives Matter” is an organization and movement that fights for freedom, liberation, and justice. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
13) “Social Justice Talk Show” Every week, Imam Taymullah Abdur-Rahman invites four guests from different sides of the track to tackle immediate topics, headlines, and current events. https://the4slive.com
14) Support Black Businesses: Tips for consumers to support Black-Owned businesses, as well as for business owners in becoming more successful.
15) www.AAJJP.com: African American Juvenile Justice Project, preparing the next generation of leaders!
As Muslims, we are called to stand up for justice; to be role models in showing what is right; to judge based on character rather than appearance, wealth, or anything else; and to know that “when one kills an innocent life, it is as if the whole of humanity has been killed.” We will do what we can to stand for justice and to right the wrongs of the world while we are here, with full knowledge and hope in the fact that there will be no injustice on the Day of Judgment. Please, do whatever you can in fighting this battle: make dua, attend peaceful protests, say the names of the lives lost, sign petitions, donate to organizations fighting for justice, teach your children to love all people, volunteer to help canvas for these groups, VOTE in every election (not just the presidential election), and role model what it means to be an advocate. We all have a role to play in sparking positive change.