Women's March co-organizer Linda Sarsour shares her path from growing up Palestinian Muslim American in Brooklyn to becoming a globally famous activist for the rights of Muslims, women, and other marginalized and oppressed communities.
By turns trenchant, painful and amusing, Sarsour’s memoir is packed with hard-learned lessons from the front lines of the social-justice struggle. It’s a book that speaks to our times, tackling issues of racial injustice, economic inequality, criminal justice reform, the surveilling of Muslim communities and the shortcomings of white feminism. Its strength lies in its discussion of intersectional activism as an answer to the rise of the illiberal far right, with well-documented examples of how intersectionality has served to bring about real change ... We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is a tribute to the tenacity and fearlessness needed to stand against injustice.
That at the outset Sarsour addresses her jihad and hijab—two things that are essential to her identity yet are weaponized against her—reveals the author’s decision to use the book as an opportunity to set the record straight and to respond to the backwardness of the current political climate wherein Arabic words are demonized, women’s clothing choices are a battleground, and the very humanity of Muslims, and particularly Palestinians, is too often dismissed. And yet, the writing does not come off as preachy thanks to the storytelling, which weaves together the personal and the political with coming-of-age anecdotes and present-day struggles. The underlying theme that runs throughout the first two thirds of the book—that 'Muslims are good people, too'—is painfully simple albeit understandable given the backlash the author and her communities have experienced.