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12 Ways You Can Self-Educate, Get Involved & Support Black People & #BlackLivesMatter
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Posted on Jun 02, 2020
Dilshad Ali

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As the country is awash in anger and protests from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – when he was stopped by police officers and restrained on the ground, a knee pressed against his neck until he cried for his Mamma and died  so many of us are hurting. Those of us who are Black are directly impacted by decades upon decades of systemic racism, hurting and losing lives because of it.

Those of us who are not Black  we have a responsibility upon us to listen, learn, support, fight for justice, educate ourselves and work on addressing biases in our hearts and homes and then supporting our brothers and sisters with our actions. Anti-black sentiment and racism is rampant within Muslim communities as well, and it is incumbent upon all of us to acknowledge our own implicit part in this and root it out.

Black Lives MatterI’ve been covering Muslims in America for two decades now for a variety of media outlets, and it’s been the greatest education into learning about some of the struggles and pain various Muslim communities live with. A perpetuating theme I’ve seen this past week and for years before that is that non-Black Muslims need to listen. We need to center Black voices, not ourselves. We need to do the work and educate ourselves about the systemic racism that has gripped so many of our American institutions. We need to confront and racism where ever we see it.

As so many of us know but all to often forget, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) preached to us in his Last Sermon about righteousness and equality:

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”

Many of us hurt for our sisters and brothers. What do we do with that hurt? Where do we begin? How do we educate ourselves? What organizations, causes and institutions should we support? Who should we be following and listening to on social media? Here at Haute Hijab, we certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’ve been culling and gathering together resources recommended by Black (Muslim and otherwise) organizations and individuals for you.

Consider this a living document, a living post. Let us know what else to add by commenting below or reaching out to us at hello@hautehijab.com.

Organizations and Campaigns to Support, Things You Can Do/Read:

1. Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative – Their mission is to provide racial justice education and resources to advance racial justice. This is done in three areas: Cultivating solutions to advance racial equity, connecting people to foster a multi-ethnic network and creating spaces for learning and developing racial equity. MuslimARC has been doing this important work since 2017, and you can become a member to support that work, volunteer with them or take advantage of their vast toolkits to educate yourself and those around you.

2. Sapelo Square – This online forum centers Black Muslims by taking a “nonsectarian approach to Islam and an inclusive vision of what it means to be Black in the United States.” By providing thoughtful and informed articles and content, Sapelo Square aims to be the destination for all things Black and Muslim in the United States by being a “gathering space that builds on the long tradition of Islam in Black America and reflects the vitality of Black Muslim Life.”

3. Believers Bail Out – This is a zakat-eligible community-led effort to bail out Muslims “in pretrial incarceration and ICE custody.” It was founded by the Chicago Community Bond Fund and Sapelo Square in conjunction with Muslim scholars and community members. BBO started by posting bonds in Chicago’s Cook County Jail and now post pre-trial and immigration incarceration bonds across the United States. According to their website, BBO seeks to “create sustainable change in our society by focusing on three major areas of concern: The prison-industrial complex, anti-Muslim racism and anti-Blackness.”

4. Black Lives Matter – The BLM movement has chapters around the world and a plethora of toolkits and reports to learn about organizing around healing justice. They also offer conflict resolution resources and a special “Trayvon Taught Me Tooklit” for Black and nonBlack POC organizers. Be sure to also read their four-year anniversary report about how the Black Lives Matter movement began, what has happened and the litany of Black people who have been targeted and/or killed by persons in power.

5. Stand with Minneapolis: We Can’t Breath – This LaunchGood campaign is raising money for some of the worst-affected Black communities and communities of color in Minneapolis by supporting Al-Maa’uun, a 10-year old charity with deep roots in Minneapolis. It has long provided food, rent relief and medical supplies, among other critical supplies and services to those who are most in need. Community needs have dramatically escalated since the murder of George Floyd and the imposition of a citywide curfew. The campaign is raising funds for Al-Maa’uun to meet the critical and urgents of communities already reeling from COVID-19.

6. Check out this Twitter thread about what you can do as a non-Black person to support Black Lives Matter.

7. Take Action by calling your United States Congressperson to vote yes on H.R. 4408, the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act.

Poligon

Image source: Poligon

8. As our Haute Hijab blog writer, anti-racism trainer, cultural critic and gender equity advocate Layla Abdullah-Poulos advises in the HH Halaqa she participated in with Melanie:

a. Demand more from your Muslim spaces – masajid, Islamic schools, community centers and events in ensuring they are not only making space for our Black brothers and sisters, but a SAFE space

b. Educate yourself. Examine yourself. It is not the responsibility of Black Muslims to teach you about racism or white supremacy.

c. Do not involve yourself in spaces where people are expressing their pain if you are going to participate in a way that is not supportive and productive. Know when to lean in and when to hang back.

9. Reach out to your Black brothers and sisters. Ask how they are doing. Listen to them.

10. Here are more lists of things you can do to learn and help  Arthur K. Richards, who studies and teaches Islamic law, is a digital marketing specialist at LaunchGood and a friend of mine. He argues that being silent isn’t an option. He outlines five ways we can educate ourselves and give back to the movement. And, check out this article by Eric K. Ward, senior advisor with Race Forward and executive director of Western States Center, in which he details 21 things we all can do RIGHT NOW.

11. Add these books to your reading list:

Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race?” in which the author “gives us  both white people and people of color  the language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases."

Ibram X Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist,” which explores structural racism and how we can actively choose to be antiracist.

Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” in which the author “examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”

For children, check out this list of 31 books that support conversations on race, racism and resistance.

12. This thread on Instagram offers petitions, emails and phone numbers to write or call to express your outrage. If you are unsure of what to say in regards to George Floyd, click here. For Ahmaud Arbery, click here. For Breonna Taylor, click here. We're sharing two of the graphics from the IG thread below.

Black lives matter resources

This list by no means encompasses the vast amount of resources, organizations, causes, books, articles, toolkits and action items we all can be doing to support the fight against racial injustice. As we wrote up above, we mean for this to be a living post, a living document, and we will add to it as we learn more. We are relying on you to also send us resources. It is incumbent upon us as Muslims, as humans, for all of us to do our part.


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