From Connecticut to Chicago, buildOn students across the United States are showing support for their Muslim neighbors as part of DoSomething.org’s Sincerely, Us campaign. By creating Ramadan cards and hand-delivering them to Muslim communities, buildOn students are not just spreading kindness, they are fostering a greater sense of solidarity in their own cities.
Over the past few weeks, DoSomething.org has been accepting handmade cards from its members with the goal of redistributing them to all of the over 2,300 mosques in America as an outpouring of support. Across the country, buildOn students have heeded DoSomething’s call to action by making more than 1,200 cards.
Our students had the chance to visit The Islamic Cultural Center of New York with DoSomething.org for a special visit and Q&A session where they learned more about Muslim-American Culture and the celebration of Ramadan.
Over the past few weeks, DoSomething.org has been accepting handmade cards and letters of support, with the goal to redistribute them into every single one of the over 2,300 mosques in America as an outpouring of support for our Muslim neighbors. Our students across the country have made and will be delivering hundreds of these cards. You can make a card and send your support here: http://dsorg.us/2qY5ilU
Posted by buildOn on Thursday, June 8, 2017
buildOn partner DoSomething.org made this beautiful video of our students’ visit to the The Islamic Cultural Center of New York
Maya Majeed, a junior at Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, knows the impact this type of project can have. Maya was born in the United States, and her family moved to Palestine when she was five years old. When she returned to the U.S. in sixth grade, another student began bullying her because she was wearing a hijab. “That was the first realization that people notice things that I had forgotten about. I forgot that I was wearing the hijab in the first place, but he reminded me that, ‘Oh, you’re different,’” Maya remembers.
An active member of buildOn in high school at Central, Maya has done over 200 hours of service and has found Central to be a more open and accepting community than her middle school. When Maya learned about Sincerely, Us through buildOn, she immediately stepped up as a leader of the project by helping students to write “hello” on their cards in Arabic and teaching classmates how to wear a hijab on their visit to a local mosque.
“When we went to the mosque, we asked each other what religions we are. Two of the girls were Christian, another was agnostic, and it was just so nice to see all these different religions come together and communicate without any barriers,” Maya says.
“After the experience, everyone was just so happy to learn more about each other. I made new friends that day. Every time I see them in the hallway (at school) we say ‘hi.’ Basically, we made the school more open.”
This experience, of fostering a greater sense of solidarity and breaking down barriers, was not limited to buildOn students just in Bridgeport. In Detroit, buildOn students partnered with members of the Muslim Center to board up abandoned houses and clean up litter around a local mosque. Afterwards, students were given a tour of the mosque and learned more about Ramadan. “It was eye opening and a cultural refresher,” says ReJoyce Douglas, a buildOn student from University Preparatory Academy.
In Chicago, students from Curie Metro High School and Prosser Career Academy attended an Interfaith Iftar at the Downtown Islamic Center as part of Sincerely, Us. At the event, students participated in a question and answer session with members of the Muslim community before breaking fast and eating together. When it came time for the call to prayer, buildOn students were invited to observe. And at the conclusion of the evening, students presented their handmade cards to members of the Downtown Islamic Center’s Board of Directors.
Sanah Khan, a Board Member at the Downtown Islamic Center, was touched by the presence of buildOn students at the event and the cards they created. “It meant a lot to us,” Sanah explains. “The way the student presented the cards—they put their time into it, they were handwritten notes—that touches hearts.”
The students also left the event full of gratitude. “Being a part of the Interfaith Iftar at the Downtown Islamic Center was important to me,” explains Song Li, a buildOn junior at Curie Metro High School. “In the news, I hear about all these problems that Muslims are facing and being part of their Ramadan celebration and breaking of the fast was a learning experience. It made me glad and inspired because we came together and unified to create a dialogue.”
Mohammed Mohsin Hussain, Chair of the Interfaith Committee at the Downtown Islamic Center, was also personally moved. “I am humbled and deeply touched that communities are thinking about Muslims on their own,” Mohammed says. “It gives us the strength to keep our heads up, regardless of what’s being said and what’s going on in the world. I think what the students did showed me that people care, and makes us feel good that the community is thinking about us.”