We are now officially post-election season, and Trump has begun his transition by appointing officials who have loudly and systematically been anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, anti-human. Hate crimes have risen. On University of Michigan’s campus, a woman was pushed down a hill, and another was threatened to be set on fire.
A friend tells me that a White male colleague asked her, What did she do? How big was the hill? And is it easy to set someone on fire?
These are the questions Arab-Americans face today. How exaggerated are our stories? Are we earning the cruelty directed at us? And do we truly deserve to be human?
RAWI is a literary organization with a board entirely made up of volunteer writers. We hold conference calls, organize with other organizations such as the literary magazine Mizna and AAWW (Asian American Writers Workshop),hold country-wide workshops, and hold a national gathering/conference every other year that brings together new and established writers for mentorship, readings, performances, and celebration.
During the process of getting our non-profit status, we dealt with discrimination and repeated rejections. While we finally have 501 (c) 3 status, we hope we will be able to keep it under an administration that is bent on silencing our voices and eliminating our presence in our own country.
The US publishing industry is unapologetically White. The majority of books reviewed in the New York Times are written by White people. Arab-Americans write novels and memoirs and short stories that never see the light of day.
We are coming to you today to ask for your help. We need to–we must–expand and solidify our organization and extend the kind of support it gives to Arab-American writers. For this, we need to pay an assistant, we need to hire a grantwriter, and we need to dedicate to this organization the hours it truly needs to make a difference.
In the past two years, we’ve established an Arab-American poetry book award, The Etel Adnan Poetry Series. We are setting up nationwide workshops. We recently offered a screenwriting class to Arab-American and Asian-American writers in NYC. We want to do more, because now, more than ever, Arab-American writers, poets, screenwriters, academics, and playwrights need their voices heard, shared, and amplified.
We are asking you to make a donation of $50, $100, or $250 today. Now is the time for generosity, for bold moves, for standing up and fighting for those whose very humanity is questioned hourly. Please stick by us. We are counting on you.