20 Years Later, We Look Back and We Look Forward
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, host Deepa Iyer and guests Kalia Abiade, Anirvan Chatterjee and Sahar Pirzada share reflections and provide insights for where we go from here.
The thing that I really looked to, that I really appreciated about what a lot of the early core organizers in the south end they were able to do, is to bring people in through that hate lens, but make sure that we were able to center the folks who were targeted, not just by our neighbors, but by the state and really hold that together.
Deepa Iyer: Hello everyone. This is Deepa Iyer and you’re listening to the Solidarity Is This podcast. Each month we explore a topic of interest to understand how to practice deeper, more meaningful solidarity. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and find episodes on any podcast streaming platform. You can also find episode notes and additional resources at www.buildingmovement.org. So this month we’re discussing the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years. Perhaps some of you have vivid memories of that Tuesday morning in September, perhaps others of you listening don’t have a direct recollection because you were young children or you weren’t even born yet. Whatever your connection is to 9/11, I hope that you’ll resonate with this episode and find guidance to shape your own solidarity practices. I usually don’t take time to do a personal introduction to these podcasts, but I wanted to share one here. I have a deep personal connection with 9/11 and what happened afterwards.
I was 28 years old on September 11th and working as a civil rights attorney at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Our building, just a few blocks from the White House, was evacuated that morning. And as I walked the streets of D.C. to a friend’s apartment, I remember feeling completely unmoored. And I knew inside that the ground beneath me had shifted irrevocably. There would be a life before and after the demarcating line of 9/11. It was impossible in the coming days to process the sheer horror of 9/11, to bear witness to the pain of families whose lives were shattered that day, but almost immediately a double grieving began. As we now know all too well, Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh community members experienced backlash and scapegoating in the form of bigotry. And then, through governmental policies, they profiled, surveilled, and deported thousands of people, many of whom were working class immigrants.
During that first week, people began organizing around the country to provide resources, support community members, and even build new organizations. I remember organizing some meetings in my apartment in Arlington, Virginia to plan a solidarity event at the Japanese American Memorial in D.C. a week after the attack, a few days before Balbir Singh Sodhi was murdered in Arizona. And I got even more deeply involved with South Asian Americans Leading Together, or SAALT, the organization I would work out for 10 years following 9/11. My life trajectory was transformed after 9/11, personally and professionally. And the community that is my home is the one that came together in the decades afterwards. That’s why every anniversary of 9/11 as an opportunity for me to reflect, assess, and recommit to values and to community. This month, I’ve invited three guests who are going to share how the anniversary is affecting them.
We’ll also be discussing a lot more around the landscape of Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian organizations, which we will call AMEMSA throughout the podcast, and what the next decades hold. Please join me in welcoming my three guests. Anirvan Chatterjee is with the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour, and much more. He is a techie, activist, and community-based historian from the San Francisco Bay area. Anirvan has also been a core organizer with groups like the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, South Asian Histories For All, and many more. Sahar Pirzada is a Pakistani-American Muslim woman from the Bay area currently living in Los Angeles, and is the co-director of Vigilant Love where she actively challenges Islamophobia through arts, healing, and organizing. And Kalia Abiade is a strategist and racial justice advocate living and working in Chicago. Kalia currently serves as the vice president of programs at the Pillars Fund, a grant-making organization that amplifies the leadership narratives and talents of Muslims in the U.S. Anirvan, Sahar, and Kalia, welcome to Solidarity Is This.
Kalia Abiade: Thanks, Deepa.
Sahar Pirzada: Excited to be here.
Deepa Iyer: So I want to off with that first question that I think all of us probably ask each other on anniversaries like this, and that is what phrase, emotion, or memory are you sitting with as we tape this interview just a few days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11? Kalia, I’m going to start with you.
Kalia Abiade: It’s hard to believe that we’re almost 20 years away from that time because I feel my age and I’m saying this, but it was like yesterday. And at the time I was working at the student newspaper. So I had no idea like what I was going to, but I knew that I needed to be in the newsroom. You know, my career started in journalism. So I started as a young journalist in the midst of 9/11, and the aftermath. I also was a very new Muslim. In January after September 11th is when I became Muslim. So I was this insider-outsider, and I don’t have an experience of being Muslim outside of the context of this. And then I was thinking about how deeply the days after 9/11 really impacted the Muslim community in Gainesville, Florida, a pretty small town states away from New York city, but deeply, deeply impacted by everything that was happening.
Deepa Iyer: Anirvan, I’m going to turn to you to share your memory.
Anirvan Chatterjee: Well, I was living and working in Berkeley, California on that day. And I got a phone call from my dad saying, waking me up saying, “America is under attack.” And I just remember going, like what’s going on? And as somebody who’s Agoli, and Indian, and Indo, I was just really comfortable in my skin in all these ways. And then suddenly that day, and in the days that followed, I just felt shaken up in a way where it just changed the way I thought about race. I changed the way I thought about myself in this very visceral way. I felt the Muslim-ish.
I felt MASA, I felt AMEMSA. Like I can just see the way I was in the world, just shifting in other people’s eyes. And it was really overwhelming. And I remember this moment, seven days later on Tuesday, September 18th, that evening, going to San Francisco’s Mission District, walking into a room for a meeting of the Alliances of South Asians Taking Action, which at the time was a tiny little feminist collective working on a trafficking case, and realizing how much I needed to be working in my own South Asian and MASA communities, to be with people who are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, [inaudible 00:06:32] and so many others.
Deepa Iyer: Thanks, Anirvan, that was really poignant. And Sahar, what about you?
Sahar Pirzada: I was in an Islamic school in fourth grade when 9/11 happened and sure enough, on the way to school got the call that the school is closed, please return to your homes. And we were at home for about a week because there were security threats and it was just pure confusion and chaos. So like what is happening? Coming back to school, all of a sudden security guards are out the door. People were coming to watch us and kind of just like observing us as Muslims in a classroom and we had to put on kind of like a show like, “Oh, we are Muslims. And we’re the good ones.”
And at the time, obviously I wasn’t super aware of what the narrative was that was forming, but I literally was participating in that formation of the good Muslim, bad Muslim narrative and American flags on mine and every other family members’ cars, the stickers, and showing up to vigils. I think at the time I wasn’t understanding of any of what was happening, but looking back, I think right now it’s a mixture of exhaustion and immense gratitude also for folks who were organizing on the forefronts.
Deepa Iyer: Thank you so much, Sahar. And I appreciate you saying that you have gratitude for the folks who were organizing then, because it was pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook, and it was at a time of crisis with little infrastructure. And so I want to actually dig in a little bit into what it was like viscerally to organize at a time when the landscape of organizations looked vastly different than it does now. Anirvan actually archived all of these Yahoo Groups list serves that went defunct last year. And he identified the ones where South Asian, Muslim, Sikh communities were actually communicating on. And so I wanted to ask you, as you kind of review some of those messages that went back and forth in the immediate aftermath, what are some insights that you’d like to share with us from the standpoint of rapid response and community care?
Anirvan Chatterjee: I was lucky enough to be able to help archive about 800 primarily South Asian Yahoo Groups before they got deleted by Yahoo. And South Asian and kind of adjacent Muslim, MASA, a lot of peer groups as well. And looking at these emails that people were sharing with each other, it really brings those days and weeks after 9/11 into perspective. And I started finding a couple of different themes the day of, and maybe the first day or two after. And sometimes when you tell the story of South Asians or other Muslim communities in the wake of 9/11, we sometimes focus on the next 20 years. And those first days were also very real and very scary. And looking at these emails, I think it reminds us that we were also part of that story as well. The second thing that I found was just by September 12th, certainly in the San Francisco Bay area, every single Muslim organization came together. And we know that in all our communities, we know we disagree, we have all kinds of issues with one another. And just to see the way that there was a massive joint response from so many different kinds of Muslim groups standing together and creating kind of a single focus to vigils and community talking points. But the thing that actually probably makes me the most emotional is on September 13th, I found this one email sent by the UC San Diego Sikh Students Association. Their suggested talking points for Sikh community members. And the talking points, say two things. Number one, they suggest that folks in Sikh communities be very clear about who Sikhs are. And the second of two points, really expressing that Sikhs need to stand with Muslim communities.
Deepa Iyer: Thank you so much Anirvan for painting that picture, because it is so important to know what happened in sort of those beginning days and weeks and months. Sahar, I’m curious, because as someone who’s part of the next generation of organizers, what is it like to hear some of these recollections and how are folks like you building on from two decades ago?
Sahar Pirzada: It was actually really sad to hear it because I feel like we’re still in crisis response mode most of the time. Nobody has had a break, nobody has been able to, I guess, just breathe into a future. And I think just kind of reflecting on that, organizers that I’m talking to who are now in kind of this next phase of organizing are really trying to do that. All of our amazing organizers that have come before and who are still around have built the foundation, have built infrastructure, have figured out how we can resource this work. Now, what do we do with that to build our future, right? Obviously we still have to do rapid response. We still have to be tearing shit down, but also now moving to the building aspect of it, which I think is also very energy giving. I`t’s very much about how do we take care of ourselves and think about these things in sustainable ways.
Deepa Iyer: Thank you so much, Sahar. And as you were talking, I was really seeing that trajectory, right, between like the responding to crisis and the community defense, to the possibility to vision and to dream of a different future. Right? But there has been a bit of a shift and I wanted to hear from you, Kalia, about what you think of that.
Kalia Abiade: Being able to zoom out from that a little bit and understand how this is all situated within a long arc of racial justice fights. That, I think has been a huge shift I’ve seen in our community organizing. It’s helped us establish bonds with other organizations and other communities that weren’t necessarily impacted, but have a lot, so much to teach us and vice versa. I’m hearing people talk about abolition and state, even using the term state violence, people who would never have dreamed of being critical of the government. And now we’re a little bit more confident. We don’t actually have to prove anything to be able to critique the country that we live, in to critique the state in a meaningful way. And so that’s one thing that really stands out to me, but it’s also just really owning our own histories, whether it’s here or abroad, but not being apologetic about that.
I think about all of our family’s stories and how they’re intertwined. I think my personal story, I’m black on one side Filipino on the other side, but the way that these migration and immigration stories just mix and mingle in this country, I think we’re just more excited to talk about ourselves in much more complicated ways and not just pre- and post-2001. And then I think another thing that’s happening a lot is internal, really hard internal conversations again, around that racial justice around class solidarity. But for several years, we did not talk about Black Muslims within this conversation, right? But Black Muslims have been a very present and active part of what we now call MASA or AMEMSA communities, since the founding, or even before the founding of this country. So I’m really, I’m actually really hopeful about how some of these conversations have started.
I think about gaps and misconnections. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a gap, but maybe we’re just not all the way there yet, but you know, just being able to really claim our rights to joy, our right to frivolity, our right to rest, and our right to care and to care for one another. There’s a lot of work we have to do, but I think that we can provide a much stronger united front if we start to do some of that hard work internally. And I really see it happening. I think we’re seeing more queer voices like be front and center in some of these conversations. We’re hearing a real class analysis in the work that we’re doing and a lot more international solidarity.
Deepa Iyer: I really appreciate that you laid some of the ways in which we have built in different ways, but it’s good to hear you say that there are some of these changes that you’ve seen and that there are some openings that weren’t there before. And I really want to dig into that a little bit with Sahar and Anirvan. And I know that your organization Vigilant Love was created actually in 2015, right? And so tell us a little bit about why your organization emerged and why solidarity is such an important strategy for your vision.
Sahar Pirzada: Vigilant Love, even though we formally started in 2015, there’s such a long history that comes before that. So it was actually close to right after 9/11, where the Japanese American community, because of their experiences around incarceration during World War 2, where like, we’ve seen this before. We’ve experienced this before in our own communities. And we want to be intentional about relationship building and being in intentional solidarity. And so in 2015, we saw a rise in anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim rhetoric. It was around the time of the election. There were the Paris attacks that happened. And so, again, JA community elders reached out to Muslim folks and were like, we were planning for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor December 7th. That same week in December is when the San Bernardino shootings happened. And it just so happened to be that we were already organizing this vigil and we quickly pivoted to now also kind of just make it an intentional space to say, we’re also going to be vigilantly showing our love and solidarity to all of those impacted by Islamophobia. And about 400 people came and we held it at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. You know, that vigil kind of catapulted our coalition space because people were like, we want to continue to build, we have to continue to build, because we know that this is going to just continue to happen.
Deepa Iyer: Anirvan, I want to ask you also about, you’ve been involved with ASATA, the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, which was really active immediately after 9/11 with anti-war movements. And then again, more recently, with efforts to end surveillance and profiling and the joint terrorism task force in San Francisco and in Oakland. So as you sort of look back on the last 20 years, what are some examples of solidarity that you’ve seen emerge between AMEMSA communities?
Anirvan Chatterjee: The thing that I really looked to, that I really appreciated about what a lot of the early core organizers in the south end they were able to do, is to bring people in through that hate lens, but make sure that we were able to center the folks who were targeted, not just by our neighbors, but by the state and really hold that together. And we saw that certainly around special registration, around 2003. Because that was a moment when ASATA worked with ADC Arab American activists on the National Lawyers Guild, groups like the Progressive [inaudible 00:17:51] Network, and others to build this broad united front. And for a lot of non Muslim members of our community, or for folks who are not from Muslim majority states, they were there and able to stand outside of government immigration offices from morning to night because boys and men ages 16 and up from countries like Pakistan, [inaudible 00:18:13], other majority Muslim nations, they would be standing in these long lines and they would be walking into these offices one-by-one and not all of them came back out.
And it was such this like visceral kind of solidarity of those who are not being pulled in that way, being able to step up. And today, 20 years later within ASATA, we continue to work with groups like [inaudible 00:18:35], different kinds of AIA communities, Gabriela, Filipino Women Organizing. The kind of work with in and outsider communities that we did then have kind of led us to this place where we have built communities. We have built solidarities having gone through that moment of pain and fire together.
Deepa Iyer: Really appreciate you naming some of those elements of solidarity practice, centering the people who are affected or being co-conspirators. I thought of that when you talked about folks standing in line outside the government agencies, co-liberation, understanding that our fates are connected and intertwined. It’s really important to recognize that even if we didn’t know all the times how to, the vocabulary, right, what it is that we were doing, we were doing it from a sense of love, love for our people. And I think that’s something that I feel is a core aspect of all of the amounts of work that I’ve seen. Our. deep and abiding love for our people.
I feel like we can have this conversation for three hours, but to keep it moving. Kalia, we’ve talked about community-based groups, we’ve talked about how they’ve grown and evolved. We’ve talked about some, you’ve talked about some of the gaps as well as some of the progress that’s been made. But it’s also the case that community groups aren’t doing this alone. They’re in partnership in many times with philanthropy. And what more can the philanthropic sector do over the next 10 years to really build the muscle of organizations, particularly around what’s Sahar has mentioned a couple of times, which is the sustainability.
Kalia Abiade: I think philanthropy rightfully gets a lot of criticism. There’s such a strange power dynamic that we’re always navigating, right? And I think as professionals in philanthropy, that’s something we always have to be mindful of. And so I think that’s something that we need to sort of pump the brakes on quite a lot and say, okay, you’re in building and not only are these organizations, AMENSA organizations building, they’re building in crisis mode. They’re building largely with two or fewer staff members. They’re building with budgets of $250,000 or less. And when we think about that over history, it’s really nothing. But we did a timeline at Pillars last year and the year before, just to show when did the SPLC come into play, right? That was after the civil rights movement. So not that long, but much longer than most of the Muslim organizations. Same, ACLU, right?
All these big organizations that people look to and they say, these are some big organizations that you should know about and why can’t you do what they’ve done? And then we throw our organizations right up next to them and say, “Go.” So I think we should take the long view in philanthropy. I think we should really think about investing, right? What we’re doing is investing for time that we can’t even see. This is going to be generations beyond what we can imagine it. And if we can create a sturdy foundation now. If we can build in the mental health supports that people need in the beginning and not at the end, I think we’ll do ourselves a really solid favor now, but also for the generations to come after us.
Deepa Iyer: Thanks, Kalia. You laid the vision down for philanthropy, and I really appreciate this idea of patience. It’s a nicer way to say it. So now that we’re talking about the future, right? I want to turn to you, Sahar, about, as you think about the next 10 years, Vigilant Love and partner groups have chartered this visionary policy agenda for AMEMSA communities and co-conspirators, can you share why that’s important?
Sahar Pirzada: It is something that we are so, so excited about, and we’re actually launching a whole website where folks can learn about it called Muslim Abolitionists Futures. A part of it, you could read our 50 page policy agenda, which is really about divesting from the war on terror, divesting from the national security apparatus. One of the campaigns we’re working on in Vigilant Love is called Services Not Surveillance, which is really about addressing how national security has seeped into the mental health industry and is offering us resources for mental health, but attached to the national security apparatus of like, we’ll give this to you, but let us know if you can profile all your people and then report them to us, right? So we’re saying absolutely not. We want you to actually take all the money from this program, put it in something that is not criminal and still give us mental health services because we need them. So a big part of Muslim Abolitionists Futures is also about creating a space where we can build authentic relationships for each other that are rooted in values.
Deepa Iyer: What I really heard you talk about is the importance of this principled struggle around values, right? That and values that lead to systems change. So Anirvan, I want to know a little bit about how we pass this information along. And you’re a part of the Bay Area Solidarity Summer, which is a program that is often run in the Bay area to introduce young people to South Asian American history, but also to really motivate them to get involved. So tell us why it’s important for new generations of activists to understand their history.
Anirvan Chatterjee: So one of the things that we’ve really seen with Bay Area Solidarity Summer, which brings together 18 to 24 year old South Asian American emerging activists, helping them grow their networks and skills. For a lot of younger activists, they live with the effects of 9/11. They were thinking on racial justice to have these lived experiences. For many people, they can’t remember a time when they weren’t being called a terrorist. And one of the things to be found that a lot of younger activists don’t necessarily immediately have access to is analysis around thinking about going from identity in a U.S. context, and thinking about endless wars, the war in Afghanistan, the structures of global security and trade agreements. Even as we see and experience race, that transnational lens, it’s such a critical part of understanding where we have been and where we’re trying to go, which is why I’m so excited about the kind of work, Sahar, that you were describing. And I’m really hoping that as a community, that we can be sort of providing support around making those connections.
Sahar Pirzada: Thank you so much Anirvan.
Deepa Iyer: So as we prepare for what’s ahead, what’s a call to action that you would have for communities. And then how do you practice caring for self and community?
Sahar Pirzada: Thank you for asking this question. For me, part of self and community care is being unapologetic about my values and taking up that space. And really finding my people, finding the folks that are values-aligned and being engaged in moments of joy and celebration with them when we have crossed milestones. And my call to action has to do around one of those milestones, which is the launch of our website for Muslim Abolitionist Futures, which you can check out at muslimabolitionistfutures.org. Look up the organizations that are on our organizational movement map and donate, send them a thank you note, send them just love, endless love, because we really need that to continue doing the work we’re doing. Those are my calls to action and the way I’ll be resting.
Deepa Iyer: Love it. Thanks, Sahar. All right, Anirvan.
Anirvan Chatterjee: One way I think about caring is also about kind of finding validation. And even through this conversation, I’m thinking a lot about how important it is just to be able to validate to one another, that our experiences are real, that they matter. And really my call to action as somebody who is a community-based historian is to continue to share our stories. And from running a public walking tour, it is so obvious to me, it’s so clear to me that our communities are ready. They’re hungry for difficult complex meaty stories. People are ready for hard conversations, and we cannot just be talking to ourselves. There are members of our organizing movement, communities that do this work full-time and there are people like me who are part-time activists and organizers. So when it is hard for people who are doing this work full time for, for our frontline responders. It is such an opportunity for the rest of us to step up and to love on them and take care of them and take up some of those spaces of work, because not all of us are as burnt out as those who are doing this work full time.
Deepa Iyer: And, Kalia.
Kalia Abiade: I’m thinking about so many of our Pillars grantees right now and how much everyone is holding. But I will say what I say to them, is that you still do need to rest. You need to tap out from time to time. There’s no substitute for taking the time that you need off your work in philanthropy. Take that next step and make a commitment. Whether that’s to support a convening, or to learn more or to do some capacity building. And if you’re already funding these organizations, see what you can do to move them to general operating support or multi-year support because this is long hard work. And these one year grants, aren’t going to cut it anymore.
Deepa Iyer: Thank you so much. I loved this conversation. I hope it was generative for the three of you as much as it is, was for me.
Kalia Abiade: Thank you so much, Deepa, for everything that you do.
Sahar Pirzada: This is really great.
Deepa Iyer: I want to thank my guests, Kalia Abiade, Sahar Pirzada, and Anirvan Chatterjee for being part of the Solidarity is This podcast this month. I hope that you found our conversation to be illuminating and catalyzing and sustaining. One of the themes that really came up was the importance of archiving and sharing and documenting community histories. Especially since we have such incomplete and often sanitized understandings of 9/11 and its aftermath. Another theme that came up was to recognize the trajectory of organizing and advocacy and infrastructure building after 9/11. We learned about the immediate days and weeks where people focused on community defense and crisis response, to the later years when there was greater organizational infrastructure to now an emphasis on solidarity-based movements that work with racial and immigrant justice and other movements across the country and abroad.
A third theme that came up was the recognition that despite this trajectory, that a lot of the groups in the AMEMSA field are still in crisis mode, that they are not at scale when compared to other organizations, and that there is a real sense of trauma that leaders, organizers, and staff members are holding, and that there is a need for philanthropic and community investments in these organizations to sustain them for the long run. We also heard about how, externally, many of the issues that are confronting today’s generations are the result of policy decisions made after 9/11. For example, the current surveillance state is a result of laws passed before and after 9/11. The overwhelming allocation of resources to the military in the wake of 9/11 is partly why public health infrastructure is crumbling in the midst of a global pandemic. And the situation in Afghanistan since American troops with drew really exposes the failure of the United States to rebuild that region’s systems and institutions over the past two decades. Now, organizations we heard are really looking internally at building solidarity at recognizing the differences based on class and caste and race.
We heard about the importance of connecting to issues that, movements that are focused on Black liberation and immigrant justice and global solidarity and ending the carceral state and the importance of AMEMSA groups and communities being part of those. And in particular, I hope you will check out the solidarity teach-in that is organized by the Building Movement Project and SolidarityIs. You can either check it out live on September 14th or later on, on our YouTube channel. All links will be at www.buildingmovement.org and on our social media channels @buildingmovementproject on Instagram or @dviyer on Twitter. So with that, I’m so grateful to you for being here, for listening, for changing your communities. And until next time, take care of yourself and your ecosystems.
Thanks to Anirvan, we now have an archive of listserv communications from South Asian groups in the days & months after September 11 (pre-Facebook and Twitter). Anirvan provides a snapshot of themes from those communications here: How did South Asian Americans respond to 9/11? (Secret Desi History).
From the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), Sunaina Maira, Madihah Akhter and Sabiha Basrai write about post-9/11 organizing in the Bay Area: South Asian American Progressive Organizing in the Bay Area: A Reflection on the Post-9/11 Era.
From Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a timeline of organizing before and after 9/11 against the detentions and deportations affecting working class immigrants.
From South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national perspective on advocacy against backlash and state violence with reflections from Aparna Bhattacharya, Sabiha Basrai, and Lakshmi Sridaran: 20 Years Since 9/11.
- Chhaya CDC (NYC)
- South Asian Youth Action (NYC)
- Sakhi for South Asian Women (NYC)
- South Asian Network (LA)
- RAKSHA (Atlanta)
- Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund [SALDEF]
- The Sikh Coalition
- United Sikhs
Almost every year, there is a resolution in Congress that marks September 11th. This year, four women of color leaders whose communities have been directly affected by the September 11 backlash have led with a bill that goes even further. House Resolution 629 acknowledges how policies implemented after September 11 led to profiling and surveillance of Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh communities. Representative Pramila Jayapal introduced the bill, and representatives Judy Chu, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib are co-sponsoring.
Acknowledgment is the first step and a critical one. The resolution also contains several recommendations for next steps, from investigations to documentation to dismantlement of programs and policies. It has been endorsed by 70 groups.
“I had processed my grief through tears. My classmates processed their fears through cruelty towards me.” In this short essay, “On Love, Loss, and Identity: My 9/11 Story,” Nikitha Rai reflects on her experience losing her aunt in the September 11 attacks and dealing with the racist backlash that followed.
20+ philanthropic organizations have pledged to collectively raising $50 million over the next five years to support Black, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (BAMEMSA) communities. Check out this pledge and call to action from the RISE Together Fund, a Donor Collaborative of the Proteus Fund: Twenty Years Post-9/11, We Call for Solidarity and Joint Investment in BAMEMSA Communities