Posted May 1, 2015 by NAAP    

Baltimore, Injustice & Arab-Americans

Since our inception, “empowerment” has been the cornerstone of our vision, and as we try to sort through the events of the last week in Baltimore, there are two important points for Arab-Americans to consider:

First, #FreddieGray’s tragic death is not the first of its kind, but one example of many stretching generations where excessive brutality and a lack of accountability or justice are the norm. This might not be your reality, but it is very real for far too many.  

The protests and rage we have seen from local communities (in Baltimore, Ferguson and beyond) don’t happen in a vacuum, rather are seeped in decades of economic marginalization, racial injustice & crumbling infrastructure.

These are real problems in America, and it is getting worse. The only way to address them is not by casting judgment based on sensational TV news broadcasts, but by directly addressing root causes. We know this painfully too well from the experiences of our ‘mother’ countries – we cannot avoid the ills of tomorrow, without understanding how we got there. This is true for Palestine, Syria, Ferguson or Baltimore.

The second key point is that Arab-Americans can play a meaningful role in supporting positive change in our cities – in Baltimore and beyond.  

Our collective responsibility is to show solidarity through action – We should encourage our networks to engage in positive coalition building across communities to make the cities we call home a better place for us all.

We can help by reaching out to neighbors, getting out for cleanup efforts or walking hand in hand with others in protest of a broken system. National Community Service day is right around corner – now is no better time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Find your voice and take action to support the change we know America needs. Small or large, every gesture counts. Empowerment after all is not just about “us”, but must be connected to the realities of our neighbors. 

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