Organizing around September 11, 2001

colist-admin at colist-admin at
Fri Sep 28 10:42:00 CDT 2001

[ed:  thanks to Janey and David for the further resources.  
Some thoughts from me at the bottom.]

From: "Janey Skinner" <janeyskinner at>

In the Bay Area there is some exciting organizing going on, to provide
accompaniment for local Muslims, Sikhs, Arabs, Persians, West Asians, South
Asians, etc. who may be experiencing harassment or violence as a result of
the racist backlash following the events of 9-11.

The coalition has brought together activists from a range of issues and
experiences - environmental, cultural, globalization, international human
rights and solidarity, antinuclear, etc.   Over 200 people have contacted
the group, wanting to volunteer to accompany threatened people, families,
mosques, etc.  A training is being organized, as well as a loose
organizational structure to support the work.  Global Exchange
( is providing a lot of the organizing power and
logistical support.  (By the way, they are also organizing with an Afghan
women's organization a "day for peace" near Fremont California, where the
largest concentration of Afghan refugees and immigrants in the US lives.)

This is a recent news story about the accompaniment project at

(note that the URL may split across lines)

For me, having worked with Peace Brigades International for many years, I am
thrilled to be able to contribute something useful from that experience to
local organizing work here.  So often, I find it difficult to bridge the
Latin American part of my life with the US-based part of my life.  It also
feels good to be able to do something concrete in the face of such violence
and mad rush to war.


janeyskinner at


From: "David M. Chavis" <dchavis at>


Here are more ideas about how communities can respond. A compiled version
can be found on our web-site (This update should
be added by Monday). Please continue to send suggestions to
kien at We are also looking for ideas and examples on
how to build upon these events to include other groups that have
traditionally been subject to backlash and injustice here.  How do we
build upon this to make sure there is more liberty and justice for all?

Thanks to all who have contributed so far.

David M. Chavis
Association for the Study and Development of Community
312 South Frederick Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301.519.0722  ext 109 (voice)
301.519.0724 (fax)


. October 1, 2001

The Association for the Study and Development of Community thanks everyone
who has shared their events, stories, resources, and other information
with us. We especially like to extend our appreciation to colleagues and
friends who have helped to disseminate this information through their
websites, listserves, networks, etc. We have organized the information
according to the major settings in which you can organize a response and
any assistance, stories and articles we received and are circulating via
internet, and other facts and information. For more information, you can
contact the resources listed directly. It is particularly important to
target young people as part of the strategies. They are often the
perpetrators and victims of backlash and retaliatory actions.
Communication with young adult and teenage males is very important. If you
would like to tell us about what your community or organization is doing,
please contact Kien Lee, Senior Research Associate, ASDC, 301-519-0722,
ext. 108 (phone); 301-519-0724 (fax); or kien at  We
will regularly update this list. This is information is also available on
our website


§ The American Jewish Committee maintains a diversity teaching/training
program in schools called "Hands Across the Campus." Please contact Yael
Keren at 561-994-7286 for further information. § A children and terrorism
fact sheet is available from the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. http://
§ The American Academy of Pediatrics provides advice on communicating with
children about disasters. § The National
Education Association ( has prepared a Crisis Guide to help
communities cope with the national tragedy. § Elected officials, local
public representatives, and other types of role models can visit schools
to talk to children about their fears and to convey positive messages
about reaching out and supporting each other. § September 20 was National
Student Day of Action For Peaceful Justice. Students on campus all over
the country organized rallies, marches, teach-ins, etc.



Need help getting stories into the press and on air? Contact Connecting
the Community with Media, 600 S. Michigan, tel 312-344-6400 , fax
344-6404, .


Faith and spiritual leaders play a critical role in promoting peace and
justice in every community. They serve as role models to the rest of us.
They can teach us to respect and learn more about each other's beliefs.

Examples and Resources:

· The Afghan-American community in the Washington, DC metropolitan area,
in collaboration with several other organizations and the American Red
Cross organized an Interfaith Memorial on September 23 to show a united
effort to support the victims and America. Speakers included religious
leaders from the following faiths: Islam, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and

· In rural Colorado, the Ministry Alliance is organizing visits to a
mosque to meet with its members and leaders, as well as inviting imams
(Islamic leaders) to speak at local churches on Sunday. For further
information, contact: Fr John Farley, St Peter Catholic Church, Rocky
Ford, CO, 719-254-3565, FrJohn at

· Vietnamese churches and temples around the country held memorial masses
for the victims and their families.



Discussion Group

Campus Compact has a new listserve discussion called "CIVICROLE" on what
higher education institutions can do in this time of crisis. You can
subscribe by emailing bchapman at

Will the new War on Terrorism strengthen America's civic values or
undermine them? This question is the focus of a new web page on the
Institute for the Study of Civic Values web site devoted to the War on
Terrorism and Civic Values, accessed at


Signatures and messages are being collected as a show of support for our
neighbors who are suffering discrimination as a result of our nation's
tragedy. These will be collected and sent to mosques and Arab groups
around the country. If you would like to participate, please visit:

A petition will be forwarded to President Bush, and other world leaders,
urging them to avoid war as a response to the terrorist attacks against
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last week. Please read it, sign,
and forward the link to others.

Public Statements

The Citizens Committee for New York City developed a Cab Watch Fact Sheet.
For copies and more information, please contact 212-989-0909 or

Vigils and Other Community Gatherings

Global Vigil For Peace On Oct 2 2001 on Gandhi's Birthday. Observe as
several localised actions in small groups in your offices, schools,
colleges, street corners, bus and train stations, community centres,
places of worship, in villages, towns and cities across the world at 11 am
local time on this day. Meet, talk, commune in silence or in song; gather
signatures on a statement saying: NO TO TERRORISM - NO TO WAR - NO TO


The Vietnamese-American community in Washington, DC organized several
events to show their support, including a fundraiser in collaboration with
a local Vietnamese restaurant and collection boxes at various locations
within a Vietnamese shopping center. Please contact Jackie Bong-Wright for
more information at jackiebw at



· Citigroup, Inc. has established a Citigroup Relief Fund  with a $15
million donation from the Citigroup Foundation to provide scholarships to
the children of victims of September 11 and will accept tax-deductible
donations from employees, clients, and others around the world. It has
also created a "Citi for the City" fund that will enable employees and
clients to drop of monetary donations at Citibank Financial Centers and at
CitiFinancial offices to help the more current needs of victims and rescue
crews. Citigroup's credit operations will be making special provisions and
rates available to people in New York City and Washington, DC areas
impacted by the disasters so that they can meet their financial
obligations in their time of loss and harship.

· Anyone wishing to contribute to The September 11th Fund may send their
donations in care of United Way of New York City, 2 Park Avenue, New York,
NY 10016, 212-251-4035 or

· The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has established
a Survivors' Fund to support the long-term educational, health and
rehabilitation, grief counseling, and general support needs of the
children, youth, and families in the metropolitan Washington region.
Anyone wishing to contribute may donate online at or contact

· Two funding sources available for you to conduct research related to the
recent events. Please see  the National Science Foundation and the
National Institute for Mental Health's websites: and

· How can we help the surviving children and families as they face the
future? To make a donation to the September 11th Children's Fund, checks
payable to Community Funds Inc./SEPTEMBER 11th CHILDREN'S FUND should be
sent to New York Community Trust, Two Park Avenue, New York, New York



The National Crime Prevention Council (
has posted several resources on their website related to this crisis.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has established a hotline
1-800-552-6843 for reports of hate crimes against Arab American, Muslim,
and South Asian American victims of violent incidents following the
September 11 tragedy.

The National Community Building Network ( has posted
resources provided by the American Red Cross to help organizations and
communities prepare themselves in the event of a local emergency.

The Arab-American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, NY is swamped with
children who are scared to go to school and mothers who are afraid to
leave their homes to buy food for their families. Families are afraid to
contact the police. Volunteers are wanted to escort women to go buy food,
walk children to and from school, and provide names of Arab professionals,
students, and leaders for the media to contact. Please contact the Center
at 718-643-8000 or email arabfamilies at  There have been several
reports that Americans are reaching out to mosques and other organizations
that serve Arabs and Muslims in their community to volunteer to guard the
mosques and to accompany women and children to and from their homes.
Please find out if the mosques or organizations nearest to you need such



· Visit the Arab-American Institute's website at

· The Council on American-Islamic Relations, 202-488-8787
( has collected information on anti-Muslim incidents and
provides a form for reporting such incidents.

· An academic website provides a scholarly overview of Islam, including
several scholars' commentaries on the recent events.

· The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University's
School of Foreign Service offers links to numerous resources on Islam.

· The Muslim Peace Fellowship is a gathering of peace and justice-oriented
Muslims of all backgrounds.

· A free copy of the transcript of a PBS program "Understanding Islam" can
be downloaded from



A Muslim Family in N.Y. Fears For a Son Who Loved America
23-Year-Old Among Hundreds of That Faith Missing in Attack

By Glenda Cooper, Washington Post Staff Writer,  September 18, 2001

Sal has not been seen since 8 a.m. last Tuesday, when he set off for
Manhattan after shouting a cheery goodbye to his bleary-eyed brother.
Hoping to find him, his mother has traveled every day from their home in
Queens into Manhattan to scan the lists of the missing at the Armory,
search hospitals and paste photographs of her handsome 23-year-old son
onto bus shelters and mail boxes.

She asks everyone she meets if they have seen Sal, a "Star Wars" fanatic,
keen baseball player and police cadet. The answer is always no.

Similar searches have become a familiar, depressing activity for thousands
of families here since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. But
there is an added poignancy to the search for Sal: Sal --or, to use his
full name, Mohammad Salman Hamdani -- is an American Muslim, whose family
came to the United States from Pakistan. Hamdani is one of as many as 700
Muslims who may be missing following the attack, according to the Council
on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). As many as 1,200 Muslims worked in
the World Trade Center alone.

But while the Hamdanis pound the streets looking for their son, they are
constantly aware of the widespread assumption that Muslims were
responsible for the attack. They say they fear that American Muslim
casualties are being ignored while a minority of people are responding to
anti-Islamic sentiment by taking the law into their own hands. "Do they
not understand? The Islamic religion is one of peace, not of murder," said
Talat Hamdani, Sal's mother. "This terrible act is not the act of a true
Muslim. But it could turn the whole world against Muslims."

Bush moves to shield Arabs in U.S. from hate
Visits mosque amid flood of reported attacks on Muslims

By DAVID STOUT, New York Times

As the nation looked toward war, President Bush took time for words of
peace Monday, urging Americans to remember that Arabs and Muslims in the
United States are patriotic too. As dozens of anti-Muslim incidents were
being reported around the country, the president also visited a mosque to
urge Americans not to harass Muslims and Arab Americans.

"In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with
respect," Bush said during his visit to the Islamic Center of Washington.

"Those who feel they can intimidate our fellow Americans by taking out
their anger, they don't represent the best of America."

Bush's visit to the mosque came amid a flood of reports about violence
against Muslims and immigrants in the United States. The Council on
American-Islamic Relations said it has verified 350 attacks and threats
since last Tuesday. The FBI is investigating 40 possible hate crimes
involving alleged attacks on Arab Americans and their institutions, said
FBI Director Robert Mueller. On Monday, the Islamic Center of San Diego
reported that a bomb had exploded at that facility. Muslim leaders have
cautioned women who dress in Islamic fashion with scarves, long sleeves
and long skirts to avoid public places.

"I can't go outside. I think I will get threatened or maybe killed because
of what happened," said Aziza Sobh, 16, a junior at Fordson High School in
Dearborn, Mich.

She spent the weekend inside her home, afraid to go to the mall, a movie
or even to a restaurant to eat.

A man was charged Monday with murdering a turbaned Indian immigrant in a
weekend rampage prosecutors said was motivated by ethnic hatred. Frank
Silva Roque, 42, was jailed on $1 million bail on charges that also
included attempted murder. Prosecutor Rick Romley said Roque targeted
minorities during a rampage Saturday in which Balbir Singh Sodhi died.

"Mr. Sodhi was killed for no other apparent reason than that he was
dark-skinned and wore a turban," Romley said. "He was killed because of



[ed:  as I am finally beginning to be able to think again, rather 
than only feel, I want to echo David's question of "how to build 
on this."  How much of people's organizing responses are 
providing new relationships that can be sustained and lead to 
new lasting organizations?  How much has previous 
organizing been disrupted or transformed?  For me, these are 
not just intellectual questions.  We hear so many of us saying 
"life will never be the same" and yet I am not hearing many of 
us saying *how* it is different.  Perhaps it is too soon, as it 
still feels to me.  But I also feel a need to not get too far 
behind in understanding how life, and community organizing, 
has changed or might change.  Because times of severe 
disruption also present opportunities for new choices--if we 
make them consciously and reflectively. To what extent are 
we reacting to the crisis, or organizing for the long haul? At 
what point might it be possible to shift from "re-acting" to "pro-
acting"? Please understand that I mean no criticism of anyone 
doing any kind of community work right now.  I am only hoping 
that, as the time becomes appropriate, we take moments 
where we can pause and reflect not only on the recent past, 
but also on the distant future.]

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