As New York Times puts is, Linda Sarsour is a “Brooklyn Homegirl in Hijab”. She is one of the prominent Muslims in America. For you and I who don’t live in there, for those who never heard about her. This mother of 3 teenagers is pretty rad!
Linda is an activist who, at the age of 37, has accomplished so much – including being the honoree of the White House in 2011, she’s a bona fide superwoman. Are you ready to get your mind blown? Here are 7 facts about Linda Sarsour I bet you didn’t know.
1. She is the executive director and team member of AAANY and MPower Change
Linda Sarsour was appointed as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) after the death of Ms. Atweh, the co-founder who died in a tractor-trailer accident in 2005 where Ms. Sarsour was a driver who also suffered a minor cut. AAANY is an organization that supports and empowers Arab immigrants and Arab American communities by helping them to adapt to their new home and to participate in society. Linda is also fighting for other minorities in the United States. She co-launched MPOWER Change which is a digital organizing platform for American Muslims that aims to bring social, spiritual, racial and economic justice for all people.
2. She appeared in 2 music videos
Macklemore, YG and G-Eazy are dominating names in the rap world and she was featured in their music videos! How cool is that? And that’s not all, Linda also appeared in Freeway’s ‘Illuminate’ music video. If you’re a Muslim, you will surely say ‘God forgive me’ after seeing this video due to the amount of swearing, but hey, that’s how some people get something off their chest. On her Facebook, she jokingly said that the video is (NOT) for the kids, and you are free to watch if you’re 18 and above. See her appearance at 2.06 here and at 1.41 here.
3. She has a heart of gold
Her dream was to become an English teacher until her father’s cousin invited her to work as a part of Arab American Association after the 9/11 attacks. It was a Moroccan woman who came with her son, calling for help to find her husband who was taken away for 4 days, that got Linda involved in the activist field. She has been in the scene now for 14 years and counting. Ms. Sarsour fought for the cause of Black Lives Matter, as a member of which she assisted the Justice League NYC with the April march from New York to Washington. The 250-mile march aspires to put an end to racial profiling and demands investment for young people and communities from the government.
4. She received numerous awards and did recognizable work
You know the saying “put your money where your mouth is”? That’s Sarsour. Through her work, she has been honored by the White House as the “Champion of Change” honoree, YWCA USA’s Women of Distinction Award for Advocacy and Civic Engagement and the Hala Maksoud Leadership Award from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. She walks the talk and received $500,000 from Mayor’s Fund to advance New York in April 2016.
5. She is the social media queen
Linda is active on pretty much any social media platform you can think of. If there’s a new one tomorrow, I’m sure she’ll have an account on that too. You can follow her Facebook (Linda Sarsour), Instagram (@lsarsour), Twitter (@lsarsour) and Snapchat (sarsour.bklyn). She co-created the #TakeonHate campaign launched in March 2014. Linda said “Hashtags are temporary, but knowledge is not temporary… Once you learn something, you won’t forget you had that experience, that conversation. And you don’t have to wait for national TV to call to get your message out”.
6. She is in the ranking of the 500 most influential Muslims of 2016
On a compilation of list by a Jordan think tank, Royal Islamic Strategic Studies, she made it as one of the 2 women from the US listed on the ranking of the most influential Muslims in 2016. The list includes King Abdullah of Jordan, Saudi Arabia King Salman and King Mohamed IV.
7. She made it possible to have a free day on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha in New York City
In 2015, Mayor Bill de Balsio announced that public schools will be closed to celebrate Eid-ul-FItr and Eid-ul-Adha. Linda worked with officials in City Hall to make this possible and it pays off. New York City is the first metropolis to close down schools for these sacred holidays of Muslims. In the month before Eid-ul-Fitr, this Huffington Post about the Struggles of Fasting for Ramadan in a Non-Muslim Office featured yours truly, Linda Sarsour.
As a Palestinian and a proud New Yorker, she has done great work for the Muslim community and other minorities. While staying true to her religion, Sarsour is the opposite of what is being shown by biased media; oppressed and weak. Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist once tweeted “Islam needs more feminists”. Someone like Dawkins has probably never met Sarsour, who is an outspoken, charismatic Muslim feminist who speaks her mind with a thick Brooklyn accent. As Sarsour defines, feminism is about equality of rights and women empowerment; and if you too care about this issue — you are a feminist as well. Linda never stops at what she has achieved, an inspiring woman!
This article was written by Nur Zalikha Razali.