On October 26th, 2017 MALA and Chicago Cultural Alliance presented “Preserving Heritage and Spotlighting Voices” at the National Hellenic Museum. This program was a part of “Inherit Chicago”, a city wide festival of art, ideas and performance at neighborhood heritage museums and cultural centers.
As part of NPR’s StoryCorps oral history project, The Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) has collected over 350 stories of Muslim Americans – many of which are archived in the Library of Congress as part of the program. To date, MALA has collected, archived, and preserved over 350 stories of Muslim Americans. Many of these stories were also archived into the Library of Congress through our community partnership with StoryCorps, and several were even aired on NPR programs.
The event succeeded in garnering new audiences and new opportunities to empower and elevate through dialogue. Through the panel discussion, the importance of each individual’s personal narrative helped embrace an alliance of individuals seeking to elevate each other’s journeys.
In fitting with the “Inherit Chicago” theme, we were able to portray that there are multiple generations of Americans. We are refugees, students, public servants, doctors, film makers, law enforcement officers, artists, entrepreneurs, business owners and veterans. Our heritage spans the globe, from Afghanistan to France to India to Iran to Israel to Palestine to Kazakhstan to Libya to Pakistan to Siberia to Somalia to Venezuela and everywhere between.
This event validates a continuation of MALA’s oral history project to reach a broader audience base for inclusion and diversity in the Chicagoland area. Through our partnership with CCA, we look forward to exploring how identities are formed and how we all can strengthen our communities and our country together.