What have you done to make the world a better place?
Nothing. Seriously. I’ve done nothing to make the world a better place, and neither has anybody else.
This planet is vast with numerous societies and cultures. No one person can make everything better for everyone. We can positively influence our social spheres and may even have some impact on others, but never in totality.
That’s not life or the world works.
That being said, there are things I’ve done to try and affect positive shifts in cultural mindsets in ways that increase the potential for positive change.
I’m committed to combatting systems of racism and gender oppression inside Muslim communities and the broader society. I’ve created a space affording Muslim women to engage in learning about their faith outside of the typical androcentric environments offered by Muslim institutions.
They are the focus on their instructor in a series of seminars and issues directly-affecting them are discussed. Alhamdulillah, the seminars have been offered for over five years and continue.
I’ve also launched NbA Muslims, a cultural platform that highlights the artistic works of American Muslims, primarily of African American, European American, Latinx American and Native American backgrounds. I’ve interviewed a breadth of creatives to shed a lens on intersections of race, faith, gender and national identity as well as presented at national convenings.
Alhamdulillah, NbA Muslims is increasingly recognized as a platform promoting social confidence in members of American Muslim groups.Through my commitment to resists systemic racism and gender oppression, I’ve worked with the Muslim Anti-racism Collaborative, a national educational organization. I’ve engaged in curriculum development and taught anti-racism workshops at higher education institutions like New York University and CUNY School of Law.
Recently, I co-organized a convening of Black Muslim authors and readers at New York University. The historic event was the first gathering that highlights the cultural productions of African American Muslims, raising an appreciation for their unique creations as well as encouraging more writing from authors and writers.
Attendees and authors traveled from different parts of the northeast US and returned to their communities culturally invigorated and inspired to create.
Despite my efforts, ignorance, hegemony, racism and internalized suppression spans the earth, but any positive changes made through my energies makes my world a whole lot better.