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We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders

A Memoir of Love and Resistance

Foreword by Harry Belafonte

Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the Women’s March, shares an “unforgettable memoir” (Booklist) about how growing up Palestinian Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country.

On a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn, nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab for the first time. She saw in the mirror the woman she was growing to be—a young Muslim American woman unapologetic in her faith and her activism, who would discover her innate sense of justice in the aftermath of 9/11. Now heralded for her award-winning leadership of the Women’s March on Washington, Sarsour offers a “moving memoir [that] is a testament to the power of love in action” (Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow).

From the Brooklyn bodega her father owned, where Linda learned the real meaning of intersectionality, to protests in the streets of Washington, DC, Linda’s experience as a daughter of Palestinian immigrants is a moving portrayal of what it means to find one’s voice and use it for the good of others. We follow Linda as she learns the tenets of successful community organizing, and through decades of fighting for racial, economic, gender, and social justice, as she becomes one of the most recognized activists in the nation. We also see her honoring her grandmother’s dying wish, protecting her children, building resilient friendships, and mentoring others even as she loses her first mentor in a tragic accident. Throughout, she inspires you to take action as she reaffirms that we are not here to be bystanders.

In this “book that speaks to our times” (The Washington Post), Harry Belafonte writes of Linda in the foreword, “While we may not have made it to the Promised Land, my peers and I, my brothers and sisters in liberation can rest easy that the future is in the hands of leaders like Linda Sarsour. I have often said to Linda that she embodies the principle and purpose of another great Muslim leader, brother Malcolm X.”

This is her story.

Linda Sarsour is a Brooklyn-born Palestinian Muslim American community activist and mother of three. Recognized for her award-winning intersectional work, she served as national cochair of the Women’s March, helping to organize the largest single-day protest in US history. The former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and cofounder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, she is also a founding member of Justice League NYC.

"Linda Sarsour's moving memoir is a testament to the power of love in action -- a fierce, courageous, joyous love for all people of all religions, genders, races and backgrounds that reaches across all borders and boundaries.  If you're wondering what kind of activism holds the potential to free us all, this book offers an answer." – Michelle Alexander, NY Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

“Candid and poignant, this book offers an intimate portrait of a committed activist while emphasizing the need for more Americans to work against the deep-seated inequalities that still haunt the country. A powerful memoir from a dedicated fighter for social justice.” – Kirkus Reviews

 "Linda Sarsour's memoir, We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders, challenges every stereotype about Muslim women, uncovers dangerous bias against Muslim Americans, and teaches readers how to organize for justice and kindness in our own lives. This is a rare book that leaps off the page and into our hearts.” — Gloria Steinem

“We Are Not Here to be Bystanders is not only the beautifully written memoir of an extraordinary leader and movement builder, it is a deeply moving and urgent call to love and activism. From her Palestinian grandmother to her parents, to the people in her Brooklyn neighborhood, to Mr. Belafonte, her children and her sister-friends in the movement, Linda's life speaks to the ways we become who we are in relationship to others. The memoir, like the woman, is bold, intelligent, courageous, candid, vulnerable, and warm. Linda who is unapologetically Muslim is a powerful ally--across all borders-- to all who suffer injustice; her faith demands it of her. This memoir inspires the reader to take their own steps toward a life of resistance and love. People of all faiths, and any who believe in human potential should read this book, and join Linda in the urgent project of liberation and justice.”  —The Reverend Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D., Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

“Sarsour’s memoir reminds us the humanity of the Palestinian people who’ve been stripped of their dignity. She reminds us that her fight for her people is a fight for those at the margins - Black people and Brown people. Sarsour is one of our most brilliant leaders and she leads with a grace and ‘spiciness’ that can only come from someone raised in Brooklyn. This book is a must read for all ages across the world.”  —Patrisse Cullors, New York Times bestselling author of When They Call You a Terrorist  Co-Founder  #BlackLivesMatter  

“Sarsour’s memoir reminds us the humanity of the Palestinian people who’ve been stripped of their dignity. She reminds us that her fight for her people is a fight for those at the margins - Black people and Brown people. Sarsour is one of our most brilliant leaders and she leads with a grace and ‘spiciness’ that can only come from someone raised in Brooklyn. This book is a must read for all ages across the world.”  —Patrisse Cullors, New York Times bestselling author of When They Call You a Terrorist  Co-Founder  #BlackLivesMatter  

"unforgettable memoir...An incredible, galvanizing story of the power of participation." - Booklist

“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.” — Washington Post