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We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance

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Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story of how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country. It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab fo Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story of how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country. It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab for the first time showing the woman she was growing to be--unapologetic in her faith and her activism. A young Palestinian Muslim American woman discovering her innate sense of justice in the aftermath of 9/11. Now, most heralded for her award-wining leadership with the Women's March on Washington, We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders presentsstory of love, justice, and family. From the Brooklyn bodega her father owned where Linda learned the real meaning of intersectionality to protesting in the streets of Washington, DC, Linda's story as a woman, daughter of immigrants, wife, mother, and friend is a portrayal of what it means to find one's voice and use it for the good of others.


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Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story of how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country. It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab fo Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story of how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country. It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab for the first time showing the woman she was growing to be--unapologetic in her faith and her activism. A young Palestinian Muslim American woman discovering her innate sense of justice in the aftermath of 9/11. Now, most heralded for her award-wining leadership with the Women's March on Washington, We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders presentsstory of love, justice, and family. From the Brooklyn bodega her father owned where Linda learned the real meaning of intersectionality to protesting in the streets of Washington, DC, Linda's story as a woman, daughter of immigrants, wife, mother, and friend is a portrayal of what it means to find one's voice and use it for the good of others.

30 review for We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Hey! January 2021 Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review Linda Sarsour - the organizer behind the Women's March (a worldwide protest in 2017 against the election of Donald Trump) has been making waves in her community for years. She's a strong political activist and never shied away from speaking her truth - that the right to peace, justice and equality should be just that, a fundamental right. In her memoir, she chronicles her unique childhood and what sparked her journey into activis Hey! January 2021 Reading Vlog is up!! The Written Review Linda Sarsour - the organizer behind the Women's March (a worldwide protest in 2017 against the election of Donald Trump) has been making waves in her community for years. She's a strong political activist and never shied away from speaking her truth - that the right to peace, justice and equality should be just that, a fundamental right. In her memoir, she chronicles her unique childhood and what sparked her journey into activism as a Muslim American. She discusses her accomplishments through various acts of activism and the very real and tangible results that came from it. She explains the purpose of the Women's March and how she was able to achieve that amazing turnout...and why she continues to fight to this day. In light of recent events people NEED to read this book. Seriously. I loved Linda's perspective and how she systematically evaluates injustices and fights to make a difference. I particularly loved reading about how her childhood formed her passion and how she uses that passion to fuel herself to this day. I really, really recommend this book! YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra may have a boyfriend - or two, lol

    Harry Belafonte, who wrote the foreword, seems to be playing both sides of the fence. CNN. I put it down to hyperbole and misinformation. I don't comment on American politics (view spoiler)[and I delete ALL comments that are to do with it as I have friends who are for the present setup and some who are agin it and I'm not an American (hide spoiler)] . It would be hard to do anything but love someone who sang Daaaaay-O, daaaaay-O, daylight come and me wan' go home. Come Mr. Tallyman, tally me ban Harry Belafonte, who wrote the foreword, seems to be playing both sides of the fence. CNN. I put it down to hyperbole and misinformation. I don't comment on American politics (view spoiler)[and I delete ALL comments that are to do with it as I have friends who are for the present setup and some who are agin it and I'm not an American (hide spoiler)] . It would be hard to do anything but love someone who sang Daaaaay-O, daaaaay-O, daylight come and me wan' go home. Come Mr. Tallyman, tally me banana, daylight come and me wan' go home. Everyone got an earworm now? :-) ____________________ We are not supposed to write about the author but about the book in reviews, but when it is an autobiography and the subject of course, is the author, then writing about the author is inevitable in any review of the book. The first thing about the book is the promotion, it is disingenuous at best. The promotion of this book is about what a stellar light the author is as a founder of the Women's March - but it isn't mentioned that she (and two others) were forced to resign from the Board amid accusations of anti-Semitism which was in part because of their close association with Louis Farrakhan founder of the Nation of Islam, (view spoiler)[whose main platform is hatred of Jews, LGBGT and whites in general (hide spoiler)] and who is a proud admirer of Hitler. Farrakan was an invited speaker at their marches and events and they attended his own events. In part it was because the three women at the top, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland were all cut from the same cloth when it came to their attitude towards Jewish people. You can look them all up. Bob Bland actually tweeted that the white supremacist New Zealand massacre was the work of American Jews. She says she was being hassled by her toddlers when she posted it. Surely you can't mention what a stellar light the author was as a founder without mentioning that she had to resign for less than stellar reasons? Or perhaps you can in marketing. It should be said she has apologised for the anti-Semitism. (view spoiler)[(and as what looks like part of that, raised money to repair a Jewish cemetery which is an extremely odd thing to do, making up for anti-Semitism or just looking to raise money for any group. I can think of a million charities involving children or victims of racism I'd raise money for first. But it is what it is) (hide spoiler)] which she says was misinterpreted along with her calls for Jihad (which she says she didn't mean violently) but then she spoke alongside Rasmea Odeh at a dinner, and told the audience that she was “honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.” Rasmea Odeh was convicted for her role in 1969 for the bombing of an Israeli supermarket. Odeh lost her American citizenship over that. One of the character witnesses for Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, a convict in the 1993 bombing of the WTC, was Imam Siraj Wahhaj whom Linda Sarsour, at an Islamic Society of North America meeting described as her “favorite person in this room. Imam Siraj Wahhaj who has been a mentor, motivator, and encourager of mine”. (The link is to the American Islamic Forum for Democracy website on Facebook. I do not have FB so it is a webcache link). She feels that any person who supports Israel cannot be a feminist, "Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can't be in feminism,""? She doesn't get to define feminism! At least one Jewish woman, an avowed feminist and a co-founder, Vanessa Wruble, was thrown out of Sarsour's movement for being an Israel-supporting feminist, although the Board denied it but refused to say why. This is one of the articles I read, which you may consider biased itself, as it is written by a Jewish woman. On the other hand the author protests against Islamophobia and she is a Muslim woman. There is a difference between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. There are anti-Israeli Jews, and extremely critical of Israel Jews but when the words Israeli, Zionist and Jew are used interchangeably, then it is obvious to Jews, if not all, that it is anti-Semitism. Jews are the proper judges of whether something is anti-Semitic or not, just as Blacks are the proper judges of whether something is racist or not. If it feels like you are being discriminated against or feel hatred towards you and it burns, you know it. My family is multiracial and multireligion (view spoiler)[- white, black and East Indian, Vietnamese, Jewish, Hindu, Seventh Day Adventist, Methodist, Catholic and Buddhist. There are even White Christians. We intermarry a lot not being a prejudiced bunch and putting love first. (hide spoiler)] So we have a lot of experience in what it feels like for us, our partners and our children when we suffer the 'slings and arrows' of other people's prejudices in words or deeds. On balance I will probably get the book, I might get it for the shop as I would like to hear other people's opinions of it that have nothing to do with my own preoccupations and preconceptions. Anti-Semitism, like misogyny strikes at my heart. Racism too, my sons are Black. I can't ignore these things and I've never found a justification for any of them that rings true with me. Prejudices are a form of conspiracy theory, facts (if they exist) are twisted to fit the agenda, research by bigots is put above peer-reviewed science and like religion, it is 'faith' that reigns the day. Also posted on my wordpress blog, link in profile, along with the comments in case this gets deleted. I'm getting a lot of trolls I'm immediately deleting. Why don't people post their own reviews if they have differing view points?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    I have so many thoughts about this book, wow. So We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is Linda Sarsour's memoir. She recalls her childhood in Brooklyn, the beginning of her activism, and the Women's March. It's a memoir but it's also very much about speaking up and being yourself in a world that might not accept you. It's a powerful book, engaging and well written.  I'm going to split this review into topics because I realized I'm just all over the place when it comes to this book's content. In short, I have so many thoughts about this book, wow. So We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is Linda Sarsour's memoir. She recalls her childhood in Brooklyn, the beginning of her activism, and the Women's March. It's a memoir but it's also very much about speaking up and being yourself in a world that might not accept you. It's a powerful book, engaging and well written.  I'm going to split this review into topics because I realized I'm just all over the place when it comes to this book's content. In short, to use Sarsour's style ("Brooklyn-Palestinian-American-Muslim"), as a liberal Israeli American-ish Zionist Jew, I don't know how to feel about this.  Sarsour's Activism: The heart of this book is her activism and what she's doing is so necessary and so important. Hearing about her work with Muslim immigrants or the marches that she helped organize with BLM was really empowering and interesting. The way her message comes across in her book seems so important and relevant. A lot of what I know about her comes from media talking about her so it was very cool to suddenly see how amazing her work with refugees has been. I had no idea how deep and awful the American prejudice towards Muslims was after 9/11. Sarsour describes things like FBI suddenly making people disappear, for no reason or surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods. Even if we take her work with a grain of salt, it's definitely sad to hear about and my heart hurts for every innocent person who suffered because of 9/11.   Acknowledging Antisemitism Basing myself just on this book, there was something so so problematic about the way Sarsour address the claim that she has said antisemitic things. As I see it, we all grow up with various prejudices. This world still is far from being perfect and there are so many harmful notions that we end up being taught. I think those of us that are concerned about making the world a better place should always look inside and listen to others. Our intersectional activism requires us to be ready to listen and learn.  So when Jews tell Linda Sarsour that she's being antisemitic and her response is to go, "I'm not antisemitic, I have Jewish friends", it sounds exactly like every person who's ever said, "I'm not racist, I have Black friends". She doesn't pause to acknowledge that maybe Jews can tell when someone's being antisemitic or that JVP are hardly representatives of Judaism. I had read this book because I hoped to hear an explanation. She starts this book by doing a beautiful job at explaining what she meant when she spoke about jihad and yet, her acknowledgement of antisemitism is pretty much non-existent. Just as her comments about jihad were taken out of context, I had hoped to see the same for antisemitism but nope.  This problem is even bigger because this is a massive problem across the Israeli-Palestinian discourse and broadly speaking, the American left. As an American, I am so here for Democrats but as an Israeli and as a Jew, it feels like there's never any type of awareness about Jews as a minority and Jewish persecution. She does so much beautiful work in uniting Americans together and it's frustrating that Jews for her only exist as a way to refute claims about antisemitism. As an Israeli, I check myself thousands of times about Islamophobia and Arab racism because I realize those things slip into our discourse and I don't want them to. I still feel like there's so much to learn. It's embarrassing and shameful that Sarsour, as a Palestinian American Muslim, does not do the same. Exactly because of her heritage, if she cares about her intersections, she should dig deep into the history of Muslim antisemitism and make sure that when she speaks up against Israel, her discourse doesn't also include antisemitism.  Feminism:   I kind of hoped to see any type of comment about feminism in Muslim societies. I mean, Sarsour talks about how her upbringing was different from other people's (like her father was happy that his first born was a woman) and she takes care to point out that every religious thing she did was her choice, from an assigned marriage to the hijab. It was really nice to see, especially because that's a topic that gets so much negative attention.  That said, I was missing a conversation about how she feels about the sexism within the culture. Does she struggle with it? Has it always been easy for her to break out of the sexist norms and combine her feminism with her culture and religion? Does she see her experience as the majority or the minority? Her voice about this would have been really interesting. As a minor point, her claim about how feminism needs to also speak for Palestinian women is very empty and misleading. I mean, does feminism need to speak for all women? Absolutely. That also includes Zionist women, doesn't it? I could just as easily say, "you're not a feminist if you don't speak for Zionist women". It's irritating because it's like she's not saying anything. Her claim about how you can't be a feminist and a Zionist is just ridiculous. I've gotten the impression that often people use the word Zionist because they have realized it's not politically correct to use the word Jew but ultimately, all Zionism really has ever meant is the desire for Jews to have a country. It doesn't say anything about borders or Palestinians. One state for everyone can entirely be a Zionist vision so it's just irritating that she takes the feminist cause and turns it into something that it's not. We should empower Palestinian women and Israeli women in our search for peace (and there's an actual organization that does this- Women For Peace). Speaking of peace, we have reached my final point. Palestinian-American: In many ways, Linda Sarsour and I have led very similar childhoods. We both grew up speaking a Semitic language at home and English at school, we both have parents who moved to the United States in search of better opportunities, we both spent summers here in Israel-Palestine. I think Linda Sarsour and I would find we have a lot of similar childhood memories.  And yet, Sarsour's parents taught her Arabic so that she would be able to communicate with relatives- mine taught me Hebrew so that I would be able to live here. My parents taught me that we would return. And now, I no longer feel comfortable hyphenating myself as an American-Israeli because I feel more Israeli while Sarsour continues to stress both of them in pretty much every speech.  I think these differences are crucial. Would Sarsour come back here if she could? If tomorrow Palestine would be an independent country, would she leave her life in America and move to a country that is essentially foreign to her?  In some ways, when she continues to mention her Palestinian heritage, it feels like it's just that- heritage. She mentions the importance of the right of return but would she return? When she attempts to speak for Palestinians by stressing her heritage, it's odd because her Palestinian-ness is a reflection of ethnicity rather than nationality, isn't it? When she talks about solutions, it doesn't matter to her where the border would cross or what the government would look like because it's not her life that would change radically based of this, even if she has family here. I realize this is the case for every international politics conversation and of course, you don't need to be personally impacted by a topic in order to stand up for justice but by mentioning her heritage, it comes across as if this is a matter that has severe implications for her and I just don't understand how she claim this. I'd like to conclude by saying that I found myself watching interviews with her (dang, her Brooklyn accent is so prominent) and I was somewhat shocked by the amount of hateful and racist comments. I mean, I'd say that perhaps her activism about the conflict is misguided but between that and saying she advocates for sharia law is quite a big gap and it's awful how quickly people cross into pure hate. It shows how necessary it is that she does speak up. To sum up, We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is interesting. I think it could have delved deeper into certain topics, as it leaves them unanswered. I'm glad I read it because it provided insight into the American left. As a whole, if you're interested in more information about who Linda Sarsour is, this book is probably a good place to start. What I'm Taking With Me - This review is so long, what am I doing with my life - I loved hearing about how she organized her community and the way Basemah inspired her. - I feel like I'm reading way too much about Israel as a way to find context to my studies and well, this is an unexpected turn of events.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ilaf Esuf

    Sarsour’s book is a prime example of why history matters. It’s not just the events themselves, it’s not the date, place, or time. It’s the people that were and continue to be affected. By taking us through personal narratives, Sarsour is able to contextualize and explain the significance of a transformative period in history—one that continues to have lasting impacts. Beyond diving into the harmful effects of 9/11, Sarsour also shares insights on what it takes to organize a movement. While I wis Sarsour’s book is a prime example of why history matters. It’s not just the events themselves, it’s not the date, place, or time. It’s the people that were and continue to be affected. By taking us through personal narratives, Sarsour is able to contextualize and explain the significance of a transformative period in history—one that continues to have lasting impacts. Beyond diving into the harmful effects of 9/11, Sarsour also shares insights on what it takes to organize a movement. While I wish she would have spent more time explaining the barriers she faced as an outspoken Muslim woman in a patriarchal community, she did touch upon the struggles she faced as a mother in this field, something I had never considered. I also appreciate her explaining why she chose to wear the hijab, and what it meant to be a visible Muslim. I think those conversations are important to explain the complexity of the hijab to those who may be unfamiliar with the concept. I am a person for the people, but it’s easier for me to be reactive to injustice than it is for me to think about educating the ignorant. This book helped revive my faith, my spirit, and passion to be loud for our communities that often go unheard. While I may not agree with the significance she placed on the Women’s March (claiming it was the precursor to the political outcry after Trump’s election), learning about the organizing efforts that went behind the movement did show me how having these difficult conversations with a handful of individuals can eventually spread. She didn’t dismiss an opportunity to educate because the payout would be “too small” which is something I’ve often thought about in social justice work—focusing on systemic change because of a larger payout than focusing on changing laymen (a much more difficult, an often unwaverable task). But she showed the power of the latter. I appreciate that the book focused on the political issues more than it did her individual efforts, but I do want to thank her for her resilience. And for being strong enough to realize and act upon the fact that as Muslims, our actions reflect the community, not just the individual. If she chose to express her frustrations differently, we wouldn’t have been able to progress.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Oren

    Full disclosure: I dislike Sarsour. This book was terrible. Ms. Unapologetic Palestinian refers to the West Bank as the West Bank of Palestine - it’s not; it’s the West Bank of the Jordan River. She also says that 750,000 were expelled on May 15, 1948 - most Palestinians left voluntarily (for a variety of reasons) but there’s no way it happened in one day. That doesn’t even sound like it could ever be right. The logistics and condition of the roads alone. 750,000 don’t go anywhere in one day. Th Full disclosure: I dislike Sarsour. This book was terrible. Ms. Unapologetic Palestinian refers to the West Bank as the West Bank of Palestine - it’s not; it’s the West Bank of the Jordan River. She also says that 750,000 were expelled on May 15, 1948 - most Palestinians left voluntarily (for a variety of reasons) but there’s no way it happened in one day. That doesn’t even sound like it could ever be right. The logistics and condition of the roads alone. 750,000 don’t go anywhere in one day. The Nazis used railroads and during their big 1941-1943 push to kill every Jew they could only deliver several thousand ppl per day. And from history we know the flight took place over a period of many months. And in various stages as wealthy Arab Palestinians fled long before the fellahin. Sarsour would benefit from a play date with a history book. The rest of the book is terrible. I had to skip thru all the chapters on her early career. Every story is self serving and sounds totally made up. She tells the stories using current slang even when they took place in the 90s, which adds to their bullshit factor. It’s all just way too contrived. On top of this, the book is just dull. She doesn’t really discuss Palestine or Israel or any of her many controversies. In the Women’s March chapter, which doesn’t even contain the word ‘antisemitism’, Sarsour details a discussion in which everyone agrees that organizers should be able to demonstrate genuine feminism in their ‘home cause’. I’ve never once seen Sarsour even mention the misogyny and honor killings that plague Palestine. I’ve seen her push sharia law and express a desire to take away the vaginas of other women. I haven’t seen her speak against FGM either. She’s a charlatan. Her shtick is to find movements to usurp for the Palestinian cause. Black lives matter? Let’s make this about Palestinians. But she is not unique in this sense.

  6. 5 out of 5

    hami

    Linda Sarsour starts her book with one of the most important Orientalist issues in understanding Islam in the West. She clarifies the definition of Jihad (جهاد‎) and how it is used in daily life compared to the common misconception of the term in the West. Jihad (جهاد‎) is a personal and spiritual choice which simply means “struggle”. She ends the book by showing us what does it mean ”NOT to be a bystander”. As an example, she mentions people such as Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Linda Sarsour starts her book with one of the most important Orientalist issues in understanding Islam in the West. She clarifies the definition of Jihad (جهاد‎) and how it is used in daily life compared to the common misconception of the term in the West. Jihad (جهاد‎) is a personal and spiritual choice which simply means “struggle”. She ends the book by showing us what does it mean ”NOT to be a bystander”. As an example, she mentions people such as Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher who stood up to hate speech toward two Black Muslim girls on a Portland train in 2017. From her writing, I can tell that she is a tough Brooklyn activist, and a warm Palestinian mother, daughter, and sister. She writes about the post 9/11 experience where in a matter of weeks her life -like many other Muslim Americans- was transformed from a regular citizen to a potential suspect. I can relate to her experience after Trump’s escalationist (imperialist) policies towards the Middle East. The recent murder of Iranian Maj. General Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd is one of its consequences. She writes about her long experience of campaigning with Bernie Sanders. Linda is not the usual academic person who sits back safely in the basement of some university and writes about historical facts. She is a hands-on grassroots organizer. This is what makes her writing so interesting and rich. Her work with a variety of interfaith and racial justice groups is beyond impressive. Read the full review at: insideanairport ***

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nazmin

    5 out of 5. Amazing and so important. Everyone needs to read this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathy McC

    I am not generally a reader of memoirs, but this is an amazing read about an amazing woman. One person, with a penchant for what is just and true, can make a difference. Thank you Ms. Sarsour! "No matter how pitched the battle or drawn out the fight, if we do not waver, we will prevail." "Look around you, my brothers and sisters. We are each other's greatest hope, the beating heart of a nation. We are what democracy looks like." "For me, this call to peaceful, yet courageous action expresses out h I am not generally a reader of memoirs, but this is an amazing read about an amazing woman. One person, with a penchant for what is just and true, can make a difference. Thank you Ms. Sarsour! "No matter how pitched the battle or drawn out the fight, if we do not waver, we will prevail." "Look around you, my brothers and sisters. We are each other's greatest hope, the beating heart of a nation. We are what democracy looks like." "For me, this call to peaceful, yet courageous action expresses out highest human responsibility- to care for one another by showing up and speaking out for the voiceless among us." "This was the problem with our country, I realized then. We failed to grieve for other people's children as if they were our own. We failed to see that injustices visited upon 'the other' had also been visited upon us..."

  9. 5 out of 5

    KC

    From Brooklyn street smart girl to activist and co-organizer of The Women's March, Palestinian Muslim American Linda Sarsour teaches us all how to stand tall for our beliefs all the while loving each another. This memoir is a must read. Loved it!! From Brooklyn street smart girl to activist and co-organizer of The Women's March, Palestinian Muslim American Linda Sarsour teaches us all how to stand tall for our beliefs all the while loving each another. This memoir is a must read. Loved it!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Wojtan

    I am grateful for brave and committed women working for justice, especially those that take risks to make the world a better place. Linda Sarsour is definitely one of those women. Linda is a Palestinian Muslim and grew up in Brooklyn. She followed the lead of her beloved Aunt Basemah into community work. Her skills and spirit opened doors for more involvement and bigger roles. As a result of Linda’s work she has experienced threats and been under surveillance, she has struggled to balance family I am grateful for brave and committed women working for justice, especially those that take risks to make the world a better place. Linda Sarsour is definitely one of those women. Linda is a Palestinian Muslim and grew up in Brooklyn. She followed the lead of her beloved Aunt Basemah into community work. Her skills and spirit opened doors for more involvement and bigger roles. As a result of Linda’s work she has experienced threats and been under surveillance, she has struggled to balance family and activism, and she has faced fears and formed an intense community. For me, it was specially moving to read the experience of Muslims in New York City after 9-11. The shift is visceral immediately after the attack; as Linda says, “we had all been transformed from ordinary, everyday New Yorkers who happened to worship as Muslims to a suspect class.” The requirement for many noncitizen Muslims to register with the government, the attempts to infiltrate Muslim organizations, and the creation of watchlists of community organizers (including Linda) created widespread fear in the community; the reality is sobering. Linda’s involvement in the Women’s March as national co-chair in 2017, following the election of President Trump, is inspiring and disconcerting at the same time. The work of the team organizing the event is amazing. It took tremendous effort, at lightning speed, to make it happen, and its impact was felt across the country and the world. The inside story of how the event became multiracial and intersectional highlights the struggles of coming together and the urgency that our movements maintain going forward. The account of Linda’s work is wrapped up in stories of family, motherhood, and community. I found her book to be inspiring; it calls us to action for a better world, out of love.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nuha

    Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy Available May 1st 2020 Wow. I am completely in shambles after reading this book. As a long time fan of Linda Sarsour on social media, I was elated to read her memoir. Part rally cry, part sociological analysis, part community organizational lessons, "We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" is a book that will linger in your thoughts for a long time. Every other chapter, I found myself reaching for a tissue or two. Sarsour is r Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy Available May 1st 2020 Wow. I am completely in shambles after reading this book. As a long time fan of Linda Sarsour on social media, I was elated to read her memoir. Part rally cry, part sociological analysis, part community organizational lessons, "We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" is a book that will linger in your thoughts for a long time. Every other chapter, I found myself reaching for a tissue or two. Sarsour is raw and honest when she discusses the tolls of social justice work, the long hours away from family, the constant critique of her actions, the paranoia of living in a police state. Yet the memoir is hardly ever bitter. Instead, in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Sarsour shows love to those who conspire against her while still maintaining her positions and beliefs. It is these moments that are most transformative for me as a reader, to learn how to shift the framework of a situation from one of fear and hatred to one of understanding and kindness. Sarsour's wit, humor and humanity are sorely needed in these times.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M

    Linda Sarsour is as powerful a writer as she is a speaker. I read the whole book hearing her strong Brooklyn accent in my mind. She is unapologetic and direct in a way I hope I someday can be. She calls for change and backs up all of her claims not just with facts, but with the stories of the people the facts affect. This book is a call to action that I feel I must answer. I stand with Linda, and I hope to someday be a tenth of the activist she is.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nohemi

    Compassionate and courageous, this memoir will open your heart.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melanna

    3.5 stars rounding up to 4. I always appreciate hearing other perspectives from events I have lived through (though as a Canadian, I was much more an observer). This is a woman I would want to be friends with. I appreciated her fight and tenacity and her ability to call a spade a spade. I appreciate how she looks for ways that we can find out commonality to work together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Devin Shuman

    Read this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lexi (Reads and Riesling)

    Linda Sarsour, community activist extraordinaire, has written a beautiful and raw memoir that resists and counters the vitriol that has been flung at her and her community through the years. Sarsour begins her book with a powerful story about the moment she decided to wear a hijab. She was 19, married, and pregnant with her first child. Weaving in a story from her childhood, Sarsour explains her sometimes complex relationship with her identity, and why choosing to wear a hijab was such a profoun Linda Sarsour, community activist extraordinaire, has written a beautiful and raw memoir that resists and counters the vitriol that has been flung at her and her community through the years. Sarsour begins her book with a powerful story about the moment she decided to wear a hijab. She was 19, married, and pregnant with her first child. Weaving in a story from her childhood, Sarsour explains her sometimes complex relationship with her identity, and why choosing to wear a hijab was such a profound, yet very easy, decision to make. The honest exploration of herself was the moment I knew I was going to enjoy reading this book. Sarsour’s writing is highly accessible; she invites everyone into her life and gives her readers a profound sense of welcome. She shares the tenderness between her and her father; the heartbreak when she lost her cousin and longtime mentor, Basemah; the pain she felt when she realized she would never be seen in the same way after 9/11. She opens up to her readers, asking us to she her for who she is: a woman working tirelessly for the advancement and equality of all people; a mother who tries to balance an intense job fighting for other people’s children while raising her own. Above all else, though, she asks us to see her as a human being. Linda Sarsour has endured unimaginable hate, but has never given up fighting for what is right and fair and just. We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is Linda Sarsour’s “social justice manifesto” and if you walk away from this book without feeling inspired by all she has overcome and all she has done for people everywhere, I will be shocked. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me access to this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria Osborne

    A must read for anyone who cares about women rights, immigrant rights, racial justice or rights for any marginalized group. But more important, anyone who has doubts or has an impression of a progressives as too left, antisemitic, or worse anti-American,  should read. Those who listen to the dangerous rhetoric of some on the far right should balance that with reading what progressives really believe through the eyes of this unapologetic Muslim Arab American patriot.  We see how Ms. Sarsour grows A must read for anyone who cares about women rights, immigrant rights, racial justice or rights for any marginalized group. But more important, anyone who has doubts or has an impression of a progressives as too left, antisemitic, or worse anti-American,  should read. Those who listen to the dangerous rhetoric of some on the far right should balance that with reading what progressives really believe through the eyes of this unapologetic Muslim Arab American patriot.  We see how Ms. Sarsour grows into one of the most proficient voices of marginalized Americans despite increasing threats against her. And, we learn with her. As a New Yorker like her, as a Muslim American, and as a mother of a first generation Arab American, I found her very relatable. Her personal decision to wear hijab, her advocacy and fear after 9-11, and the formation of unlikely alliances paralleled some of my own experience. "We are not here to be Bystanders" is very readable, well written, and one of the most enjoyable books I read this year. It was a great way to end 2020.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elliot Ratzman

    I had high hopes, wanting to have a more nuanced portrait of Sarsour than the hateful caricatures from the right and the reactive stereotypes from the Jewish press. The book is Linda Sarsour 101, a breezy, but tonally instrumental politician’s memoir. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: this book will inspire hundreds of young people, especially young Muslim women. There are lessons about activism, concerns about state surveillance, a bit about Palestine, a glimpse into Muslim Brooklyn, yet litt I had high hopes, wanting to have a more nuanced portrait of Sarsour than the hateful caricatures from the right and the reactive stereotypes from the Jewish press. The book is Linda Sarsour 101, a breezy, but tonally instrumental politician’s memoir. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: this book will inspire hundreds of young people, especially young Muslim women. There are lessons about activism, concerns about state surveillance, a bit about Palestine, a glimpse into Muslim Brooklyn, yet little inwardness—recaps of a string of admirable projects, campaigns, rallies and marches. Not that the memoir is merely black-and-white, but it’s more like 4-color: there are comrades and opponents; those who need help and those who pitch in, etc. There are some moments of vulnerability, as when Sarsour wrestles with the death of her mentor. However, even those fleeting expressions feel apologetic or calculated; there’s no real complexity or weight in Sarsour’s narrative of herself or her circles.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Freeman

    Linda Sarsour is certainly not a bystander. She has accomplished more in her young life than most folks in a lifetime - often in spite of serious challenges. She is best known for being one of the primary organizers of the women's march on Washington. Her memoir is an impassioned plea for all of us to work together to make our society more just and equitable. Written and read in her own voice, Linda's story is an important and inspirational one for our time. Linda Sarsour is certainly not a bystander. She has accomplished more in her young life than most folks in a lifetime - often in spite of serious challenges. She is best known for being one of the primary organizers of the women's march on Washington. Her memoir is an impassioned plea for all of us to work together to make our society more just and equitable. Written and read in her own voice, Linda's story is an important and inspirational one for our time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jacquelyn Fusco

    I want to be like Linda Sarsour when I grow up even though I am 31 and she was 25 when she was elected Executive Director of Arab American Association of NY. She is an amazing, effective, brave organizer and I am inspired by her. I don't know if I could do half of what she does, but it has always been my dream to. I want to be like Linda Sarsour when I grow up even though I am 31 and she was 25 when she was elected Executive Director of Arab American Association of NY. She is an amazing, effective, brave organizer and I am inspired by her. I don't know if I could do half of what she does, but it has always been my dream to.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megan Lawson

    "We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" by Linda Sarsour is a great book. Her story is one worth reading and emulating. I strive to be an activist and a pursuer of good in her wake; this book is a good reminder that we can all be powerful movements of change for our world. "We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" by Linda Sarsour is a great book. Her story is one worth reading and emulating. I strive to be an activist and a pursuer of good in her wake; this book is a good reminder that we can all be powerful movements of change for our world.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Means

    Linda Sarsour's memoir is a must read in today's global climate. She is a model of activism and has devoted her life's mission to model what it means to be an upstander. Despite facing adversity, she continues to organize and speak out injustices. I have so much respect for Sarsour and her life's work. The only complaint I have about this book is my own personal disdain for memoirs. When reading these, I always get annoyed with the usage of "I'' and "Me." (Sidenote: I prefer first person pieces Linda Sarsour's memoir is a must read in today's global climate. She is a model of activism and has devoted her life's mission to model what it means to be an upstander. Despite facing adversity, she continues to organize and speak out injustices. I have so much respect for Sarsour and her life's work. The only complaint I have about this book is my own personal disdain for memoirs. When reading these, I always get annoyed with the usage of "I'' and "Me." (Sidenote: I prefer first person pieces of fiction over third person narratives in fiction but, for some reason, the tone of first person in memoirs gets under my skin!) Generally speaking, there is something about the first person tone in memoirs seems disingenuous to me which takes away from the overall message of the book. While Sarsour's story is quite powerful, I feel like I was not able to connect with her as she spent a lot of time focusing on her activism and not her family or personal life. I feel like knowing a little more about her personal life would have helped me connect on a deeper level. Regardless of this little annoyance, there is no doubt she is a force to be reckoned with and such a powerful example of what it means to be an upstander.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It is always interesting to learn from someone how they got where they are and what influenced them along the way. When we read a memoir, we have to remember that the person is telling us the things they want us to know, and there may be a lot more to the story. Linda Sarsour became a lot more well known with the Women's March in DC yet this part of her life is just a short part of this book. Maybe that's because of the controversy that happened afterwards that lead to her and a few others being It is always interesting to learn from someone how they got where they are and what influenced them along the way. When we read a memoir, we have to remember that the person is telling us the things they want us to know, and there may be a lot more to the story. Linda Sarsour became a lot more well known with the Women's March in DC yet this part of her life is just a short part of this book. Maybe that's because of the controversy that happened afterwards that lead to her and a few others being forced to resign from the board of the Women's March? In the book, Linda talks a lot more about the 9-day march from NYC to DC in 2015. Another thing I would have liked to know more about is her marriage or at least more about her husband. She tells us about how they met, and how they got married, but there is nothing after that except one mention of her husband going to bed early on election night 2016 because he "cared about the kids too much to watch them cry." She brings up her kids a few times when discussing her guilt over being away from them so much, and I would like to know what her husband thinks of her activism.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zainub Reads

    This is an interesting memoir of a Muslim-American activist who has come a long way both in her personal and professional life. Sarsour begins her story with a powerful voice, narrating an incident where she was misquoted and due to which she and her family faced death threats. She then takes us back to her homeland and the backstory of her parents, leading up to her own story, her education, her marriage, motherhood, and the activism that quickly overtook almost everything else. It is quite a fasc This is an interesting memoir of a Muslim-American activist who has come a long way both in her personal and professional life. Sarsour begins her story with a powerful voice, narrating an incident where she was misquoted and due to which she and her family faced death threats. She then takes us back to her homeland and the backstory of her parents, leading up to her own story, her education, her marriage, motherhood, and the activism that quickly overtook almost everything else. It is quite a fascinating read but for some reason I did not find it as compelling as I expected except in some parts and the flow of the narrative felt disjointed too, yet this is a book I’d still recommend reading because it’s a story told by words that have come only after a lot of action unlike the many others who have a lot of words in their arsenal but unfortunately no actions to show for it when the time comes. Plainly put the merit of this book lies on the story but not the prose.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joy Messinger

    [4 stars] A straightforward memoir of Linda Sarsour’s childhood, early activism, and recent organizing. I found the first two-thirds incredibly compelling - how her Palestinian family and Brooklyn upbringing rooted her in Muslim feminist understanding, how the close relationship and later death of a mentor stays at the heart of her ongoing work, how coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City further radicalized her. The final third centered the importance of strong relationships and trust in wom [4 stars] A straightforward memoir of Linda Sarsour’s childhood, early activism, and recent organizing. I found the first two-thirds incredibly compelling - how her Palestinian family and Brooklyn upbringing rooted her in Muslim feminist understanding, how the close relationship and later death of a mentor stays at the heart of her ongoing work, how coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City further radicalized her. The final third centered the importance of strong relationships and trust in women of color-led organizing - normally a topic I LOVE to read about, but here felt too littered with name-dropping, both of people and nonprofit organizations. Being familiar with Sarsour’s other writing and speeches, I hoped for some of that fire in her memoir. I’d definitely still recommend it, just with those caveats in mind. Goodreads Challenge: 44/72 Reading Women Challenge: a book by an Arab woman Femibooks Nonfiction Challenge: a book published in 2020

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ekta

    An inspiring read! I listened to the audio book and found it even more engaging. Linda Sarsour is a force to be recokned with. This is not a story of her tomtomming about her work, rather a sober reminder of how much community organizing can and has achieved, facing incredible roadblocks, from people we may consider liberal. This memoir reminds us the importance and power of Black, Brown and Muslim womxn coming together to challenge every system that oppresses. This book is about intersectionali An inspiring read! I listened to the audio book and found it even more engaging. Linda Sarsour is a force to be recokned with. This is not a story of her tomtomming about her work, rather a sober reminder of how much community organizing can and has achieved, facing incredible roadblocks, from people we may consider liberal. This memoir reminds us the importance and power of Black, Brown and Muslim womxn coming together to challenge every system that oppresses. This book is about intersectionality personal politics that leads to large scale change. The amount of scary and real threats to her life blows me away. People like Linda Sarsour are born to lead with integrity and humility. Such a balance of her personal life, professional career and activism!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Noor

    so good!!! 4.5 stars, so relatable as a first gen Palestinian American Muslim

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tina Horn

    Fantastic read What a great read—quick and easy but still resonant and powerful. I enjoyed it greatly and am reminded of my convictions to make this world a better place than I found it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wojtas

    2.5 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nazek Hapasha

    An inspiring read towards activism and justice based in love and faith. Reveals details behind how authorities entrap and frame people of color and minorities and systems that enable cycles of poverty and violence. Insightful look into the life of Linda Sarsour if you know/follow her.

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