Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbor, we said, and we heard an Amen! Enough with the political hate talk, we said, and we heard an Amen! Enough with the demonizing, we said, and we heard an Amen! And 850 folk, across faith lines, walked the talk on Sunday Feb 28th , as we packed the Shalimar Banquet Hall, in Addison, IL.
We intended to replace 'us' and 'them' with 'We the People'. We aimed to bring Jews, Muslims, Christians, those of other faiths and those who didn't belong to a faith group, to talk to each other and not at each other. And boy, did we succeed!
Yes, there were speeches but interspersed between them were our golden nuggets : one-to-one meaningful conversations between Muslims and those of other faiths ( our seating plan ensured that we had the right pairs). Seating partners asked each other: "When have you taken a stand knowing it might not be popular…or when do you wish you had taken a stand. Why?" Secondly, "What have you learned or noticed here so far? What do you hope to learn?" and finally, "What do you want your neighbor in the circle to know and remember about you? Why is that important?" The buzz in the room was electrifying. People who had never met before bonded within a span of 1.5 hours. The conversations stirred them to get to know each other beyond the stereotypes, as people. As members of DuPage United we know relational conversations oil the wheels of relationships between strangers. They give folk a chance to truly hear, and connect, with one another.
How did the Event Succeed Beyond Expectations?
1) We tapped into vested interest. Muslims were tired of being demonized. Those of other faiths were tired of not really knowing who their Muslim neighbors were and were done with speculating about them.
2) We spotted a vacuum, a dire need - the lack of dialog between Muslims and non-Muslims, and we filled it.
3) It was collaborative. Folk had a voice at the table. A core team with representation from different faith organizations and associations were involved in every decision whether it was a flier, a press release or the choosing of a venue. It was excruciating but it gave folk a reason to own the outcome. And we sure did !
4) We divided and conquered. We were all volunteers and we knew for success all hands needed to be on deck. We asked and folk stepped up to deliver. From the flier to this video to the press release to the circle leaders and floor volunteers on D- day. This was our collective cause and, collectively, we'd have to make it a success.
5) We had a core team but not a hierarchy. It was not top down. Ideas as to what the event should look like, what its elements should be, bubbled up from the grass-roots.
6) We truly cared about the message - #Stand TogetherDuPage and #UnitedWeStand, #WethePeople are one- We were foot soldiers working to deliver a message we all truly cared about.
7) We tapped into curiosity. So just who were all these Muslims and Jews and Christians who were planning this huge solidarity event and why were folk volunteering en mass for it? What was all the buzz about? The event was free but we still had to close registration when we hit 850 names!
8) We used every free means possible to get the word out. What'sApp groups we belonged to, mentions in e-newsletters by every organization that was planning this, hand-delivered letters, mentions in study circles and more.
The Solidarity Event was just the kickoff event. Over the course of the DuPage United sponsored "We the People Solidarity campaign", we hope to build a critical mass that will be able to push back against political and media hate talk. With our neighbors, we will stand together in solidarity against hate and fear. We have taken a stand. We will take back the narrative. Join us. And yes, donations welcome! Details at www.dupageunited.org #StandTogetherDuPage #DUSolidarityCampaign
- Colorado Technical UniversityContent Strategist, 2014
- Foodmix CommunicationsDirector, PR & Social Media, 2012 - 2013
- IFANCADirector, PR, Content Strategy & Social Media, 2012 - 2012
- iXL, CIOGCContent Strategist
- Founding Board Member: Refugee Assistance Programs, Advisory Board Member: Asian American Retirees Association
- Volunteer: DuPage United, Meals on Wheels
- Chicago Tonight, PBS (past)
- On Being - On Air (past)
- Huffington Post (past)
- NPR Commentaries (past)
- Common Ground News Service (current)
- Halal Consumer Magazine (current)
- Chicago Tribune (past)
- Narnia for the Mind (current)
- Saudi Aramco World (past)
- Halal Journal (past)
- Chicago Crescent (past)
- Sound Vision (past)
- Chicago Parent magazine (past)
- Halal Journal (current)
Experienced Communications and Content Strategist, including Social Media Strategy. PR, branding and editorial experience with six years in a supervisory role. Quality focused with proven leadership in developing organizational capability. Demonstrated track record of building strong client and media relationships. Excellent consulting and presentation skills, client service, communication, and team-building skills. Strong analytical, planning, and organizational skills. Bring international marketing and advertising experience to the table. Fluent in Urdu & Hindi, besides English.
Extensive social media experience including blogging, community development and management, social bookmarking, commenting, etc. Capable of independent thinking, decision-making, and consensus-building. Currently pursuing MSC in Communications at Northwestern University.
Expert on Halal, Mainstream, South Asian and Middle Eastern immigrant and refugee communities in the USA, especially Chicago.
NPR, PBS and WBEZ commentator. Internationally syndicated writer for Common Ground News Service. By-lines in over 31 publications, globally. Huffington Post blogger.
Avocation: Specialize in refugee resettlement issues and inter-faith projects. Two time award-winning Founder/ Director of Refugee Assistance Programs.
Content Marketing | Integrated Marketing Communications | Branding | Media Strategy | Halal | Refugees | Interfaith | Islam | Parenting | Relationships
- Northwestern University,MS Communications, 2011 - 2012
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