This Is What Intersectionality Can Look Like

New York City activists understand intersectionality better than many, and that was definitely on display at last night's rally in Washington Square.

Maybe it's the City's historic and ongoing reputation as a place of immigrants: the home of Ellis Island, Nuyoricans, Spanish Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy.... Maybe it's the many ways the City has attracted the LGBTQ community: Broadway, Fifth Ave, Stonewall, the Village, SAGE, and the darker side of sex trafficking and LGBTQ homeless communities, too. Maybe it's the City's history as a destination for safe abortions. Maybe it's the City's prominent communities of the Nation, mainstream Islam, Arab immigrant and refugee populations, and the hard, sometimes controversial, work of activists like Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Debbie Almontaser and, of course, Linda Sarsour.

What I know about New York City is that, although we are far from perfect, we are arguably ahead of the curve--of the moral arc of the universe, if you will.

As news began to filter out yesterday of Donald Trump's Executive Orders du jour, there was an immediate response by CAIR-NY, the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. By noon, CAIR-NY had announced an Emergency Rally on social media. By afternoon, it was the Emergency Rally for Muslim and Immigrant Rights, already pitching a bigger tent than just the Muslim community that are CAIR's constituents.

"What Never Happened With Ahmed"

The theme of the January issue of Pilcrow & Dagger is "do-over" and I was reminded of a friendship I turned down in my Peace Corps community. What might have happened if I had let things develop with my student's Uncle Ahmed? I'll never know. (I'm not even sure that was his name!)
Seated one spot away on my left was one of their brothers, a slim, compact young man, not too tall, with short dark hair, neat and clean-shaven. He reached around his sister to shake my hand. “My name’s Ahmed. I’ve just come back from university in England.”

“Let me guess. You were in York.”

Ahmed was speechless for a moment. “How did you know?”

“You have the most perfect, unmistakable York accent I’ve ever heard from a non-native speaker.” Even after studying abroad in England for a year, it was the only English accent I recognized.
Find a sneak peek here, and get the whole story from Pilcrow & Dagger.

I found this publishing opportunity through the Duotrope Weekly Wire email.
Duotrope: an award-winning resource for writers

"The Peace of Iraq’s Mothers"

It should have been depressing, living with forty families from the impoverished Iraqi countryside—ravaged by American-made land mines, littered with the remains of radioactive American bomb casings, and now sprayed with insurgent gunfire and IEDs. I was sure I would be so distraught by the deformities of these children that I wouldn’t be able to look at them, let alone help them.

I volunteered anyway, because I needed to do something for this country that my country had invaded, for these families in need so close to my new Jordanian home.
In 2005, I spent ten days in a hotel with forty Iraqi families. I met the most remarkable women and children (and men!) on that short volunteer assignment. My story of some of these children and their mothers appears in the January 2017 issue of New Madrid Journal, the literary magazine of Murray State College.

Unlike my two previous publications, the poem and "That Other Hijab Story," New Madrid asked for revisions and put me to work with a Murray State creative writing professor. I had forgotten what a pleasure it can be to work with a professional writing teacher to craft something good into something better. So thanks, Allen!

The Winter 2017 edition of New Madrid Journal is now available here!

I found this publishing opportunity through the Duotrope Weekly Wire email.
Duotrope: an award-winning resource for writers