By: MPAC Policy Bureau and MPAC’s African American Muslim Insight Council
On Wednesday, February 9th, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) asked “what has Black History Month meant to you?” Participants ranged from staff members, to MPAC supporters, to civil society stakeholders and many others who joined in to listen and to be heard. The theme of the conversation was #AllVoicesWelcome, and the diversity of our participants reflected just that. The responses opened new realities on Black History Month. We created this space to have this conversation with a wide audience, and to listen to members of our community and beyond to encourage meaningful, impactful dialogue on Black history in America. This week’s conversation was encouraging because of the honest participation from those who attended.
Speakers narrated how Black History Month should not only address African American movements in American History but how it should express key historical significance in Africa. A Canadian speaker said “our history pre-dates 1619,” while another speaker gave an account on Somali movements, the issues that her people are facing in the Somaliland movement, and how Black History Month empowers her children, who identify as African Americans first.
This conversation was the first time that MPAC hosted an online dialogue of this nature, with the intention to continue this forum throughout Black History Month. Conversations this month are very intentional. We are crossing the river to build bridges between our American Muslim communities. We have an opportunity to define American Muslim presence through dialogue, as we are taught in our holy book “to know one another” (Quran 49:13), and create a vision for generations to come.
Next week’s conversation on Twitter Space, will take place on Wednesday, February 16th, at 8pm ET (5pm PT), and we’ll be asking “What does it mean to be Muslim in America?” Everyone is welcome to and encouraged to participate. You can participate by joining here.