Let's Keep the Race Conversation Going...

To start, I’d like to mention that I am a Palestinian-American woman born and raised in Bridgeview, IL – a small bustling suburb outside of Chicago. Bridgeview is a majority Palestinian community. Many members of our community have owned or own liquor stores in the inner cities of Chicago – at one point, my own father even owned a liquor store, and not just my father but all of my best friends’ fathers and just about every other Palestinian father in Chicago did, all the way back to my great-grandfather. To them this was a huge opportunity they seized fleeing from war and occupation. Alhamdulilah, our local Imam at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview relentlessly spoke up about this topic encouraging many of them to change their business models. He constantly preached to our community to get out of the liquor store business not only because it was haram (unlawful) money but because of the negative impact it left in the communities they operated in – Black majority communities.

Unfortunately, growing up, we didn’t consider the negative impacts our actions and businesses had, and unfortunately, even today, many of our non-Black immigrant community members still fail to grasp how we’ve been complacent in systemic racism and continue to carry our own racial biases from work to home. Unaware of the history of Black majority schools getting consistently defunded, cities giving business licenses to non-Black minorities and thus over saturating Black communities with liquor stores is just a small snapshot of the big picture of systemic racism. After the murder of George Floyd by police officers many of us are asking ourselves how this happened and have found ourselves in the midst of a revolution. 

Now is our chance to recognize our complicity and inner biases within our homes and communities and make a difference. Over the past week, we have witnessed many Black Muslims share their stories of discrimination within the Muslim community. For me personally, it was eye opening and heart breaking. 

“I sat around the dining room tables at your homes having to laugh as you called my people ‘abeed’ or slaves. Or talk about how scared you were when we drove into a Black neighborhood even when I was in the back seat” Watch her full video here. - @Haneefahhhh  

Thinking of Haneefah and many other Black Muslims growing up in immigrant majority communities like mine made me think this can no longer be acceptable, and we must address our racial biases fostered in our own homes. We need to take action. We can no longer stay silent nor remain neutral – we must be explicitly and actively be anti-racist. As Muslims, we need to be a part of the conversation of social change and racial injustice. We do this by first reminding ourselves of the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): 

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 a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. 

-       The last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Hadith of Prophet

It all starts at home. That’s where we need to openly discuss and breakdown our inner biases and actively stand in solidarity with Black Muslims in our immigrant majority communities and contribute to organizations that work against racial socio-economic injustices. 

Here at Days of Eid® we wanted to contribute to the fight for racial equality. To help you facilitate conversations about racism and inequality in your homes and workplaces, masajid, and general gatherings spaces, we collaborated with an artist @white.vignette  to create a printable you can frame and hang up that features this excerpt from the Prophet’s last sermon.  

By purchasing and displaying this artwork you are making a change in your home and making a difference outside of your home. 100% of the proceeds from these printables will be going to IMAN (Inner city Action Network). 

Why IMAN? 

Because IMAN does the work that needs to be done. 

‘The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) is a community organization that models an integrative approach that employs holistic interventions to address a spectrum of structural and systemic injustices, incorporating primary, behavioral, and oral health; artistic expression; leadership development; organizing and advocacy; housing; and job training, in an effort to substantially increase the quality of life for people in marginalized communities.

The Inner-City Muslim Action Network is currently working on a new effort to redefine the ‘corner store’ through their “GoGreen on Racine” initiative in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. To holistically transform a neighborhood affected by violence, vacancies, food insecurity, unemployment, and chronic disinvestment. To bring about community-led transformation around the 63rd & Racine intersection and create a thriving green-node, through a fresh market, mixed-use development with a business incubator, and recycling enterprise, forging a collective vision for a new commercial corridor.The development is expected to bolster local economy, create a thriving green node, build civic infrastructure, foster health, wellness and healing, and increase public safety and neighborhood stability.   

We’ve provided several options, so you can choose the image that works for your aesthetic! You can shop them all here. 

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