This article is a part of our ‘Woman of the Week’ series, which highlights the work of cool contemporary women and ways in which we can support them!
The Basics: Born 1980 in New York State.
Who She Is: Linda Sarsour is an outspoken activist. Born in Brooklyn in 1980, Sarsour was the oldest of seven children of Palestinian immigrants (she is now a mother of three). After the events of 9/11, Sarsour became interested in activism and began volunteering at the Arab-American Association of New York. Sarsour directed the Arab American Association for New York (starting at the AGE OF 25), was a co-chair of the Women’s March in 2017 and is known for her advocacy that focuses on American Muslims. She is also heavily involved in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, where she helped form “Muslims for Ferguson” in 2014. She was named one of Time’s most influential people last January or helping organize the women’s march. In March of 2018, she was arrested for civil disobedience when she visited Paul Ryan’s office and demanded he meets with her and others protesting the current inaction on the DACA program. She is deeply involved in intersectional movement building.
Why You Should Love Her:
Sarsour increased the budget of the Arab American Association for New York by $650,000 annually. She attended many Black Lives Matter demonstrations and is also an outspoken feminist, who discusses both immigration and mass incarceration. In 2015, she also got NYC public schools to recognize Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. In addition, when a Jewish cemetery in Missouri was vandalized, Sarsour and other Muslim activists worked to create a campaign to raise money to repair damages and spread awareness that both Jewish and Muslim communities could work together and fight hate. The fundraiser raised over $125,000. If you needed another reason to love her, Sarsour is also outspoken about police surveillance of Muslim Americans and she was recognized as a “champion of change” by the Obama administration in 2012. She has also voiced the importance of being a feminist who supports all women, including Palestinian women and other minority women in the United States and around the world.
Although she has received a lot of hate from groups, many progressive groups are highly in support of her and have praised her activism. She is often accused of being anti-Semitic, because of her support of Palestine and her criticism of Israel and its handling of the current conflict. In order to form your own opinion on Sarsour, or if you’ve heard controversial stuff about her, I encourage you to research what she stands for and has said and form your own opinions.
Featured Quote: “Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.”
How to Support Her:
Donate to charities that help fight hate. Take part in your own local women’s march or volunteer for the women’s march. Speak up against hate and anti-Muslim sentiment, anti-Semitism, and racism. Learn about the Palestine Israeli conflict (by talking with students at Kenyon, reading books, articles, etc.). Learn more about issues you don’t know. Read books by Palestinian and Palestinian American women to support them.