June 4, 2020
As the Deputy Director and co-founder of the Muslim American Leadership Alliance, and as a Black man living in the United States, I want to express solidarity, on behalf of myself and MALA, with communities of color during this dark and painful time. I would like to first extend my thoughts and prayers to the family of George Floyd, and to the families of the countless other individuals who have lost their lives as a result of racial injustice and prejudice.
My thoughts also go out to this nation as a whole, which has never been more in need of healing. The movement that is currently erupting in America is the product of systemic injustices and corrupt structures of power that have been overlooked for far too long. Incidents of prejudice, police brutality, lynching, and other forms of violence targetted at black communities are not isolated events, but symptoms of culturally and institutionally engrained white supremacy in the United States.
The protests currently taking place across the country are a response to these systemic injustices, and I want to emphasize the importance of peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience. But demonstrations are becoming less peaceful. I am saddened to see the important message of this movement devalued in the eyes of the public by acts of destruction, violence, and malice. Actions that cause harm to our communities can not simultaneously repair them. Our society can only heal if we are all willing to participate in the healing process. Part of this process is peaceful demonstration and the confrontation of injustice. But part of this healing process also means doing the hard work of community building and civic participation.
Today I call on elected officials and decision-makers nationwide to acknowledge their positions within the systems of power that perpetuate violence and prejudice, and work harder than ever to face these systems head-on. A productive national conversation about race can not occur while police brutality, lynchings, and acts of hatred continue to go unchecked. Today, we have the option to choose between the perpetuation of violence or healing. On behalf of MALA, I invite everyone in our community and beyond to commit to being agents of healing. I invite you to learn with us, to question with us, to problem-solve with us, and to stand with us. Because we stand with you.
Ahmed Flex Omar is the Deputy Director and Co-Founder of MALA. He is a Somalian refugee, and a survivor of genocide. Flex has been committed to building community and mentoring young people in the Chicagoland area and beyond for decades.