Shoulder to Shoulder is encouraging our network partners and friends to write or speak publicly in the lead-up to the 20th commemoration of 9/11 and in the months following through opinion editorials, newsletters, blog posts, sermons, podcasts, FB lives, TikToks, speeches, or otherwise. Why do we think it’s important to write and speak publicly in advance of 9/11 this year?
- The 20th commemoration is a landmark year, and we have already seen increasing news stories on the topic. Oftentimes, coverage contains (sometimes unintentionally) harmful rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, themes of American patriotism that exclude certain groups, and false information about 9/11.
- Every year around 9/11, there is a rise in bullying and hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be. Muslim youth report that 9/11 is their least favorite day in school because of the hateful comments and sometimes physical abuse they experience in and outside the classroom.
- With the recent news from Afghanistan, we are seeing some leaders and media outlets recirculate the same old anti-Muslim tropes, misinformation, and disinformation that are continually used to keep us divided and afraid.
So as you get started in crafting your communications, we encourage you to note the following messaging tips and guidelines below. If you are writing a public piece like an opinion editorial, consider co-writing with two or more authors representing our country's religious and cultural diversity.
- Start with your community values and be specific, whether that’s about diversity and inclusion, how we treat our neighbors or strangers, or about our national ideals of religious freedom. Give a specific example of when your community lived into those values and ideals. It could be recent or historic.
- If you talk about the victims of 9/11, be sure to include the full diversity of those who died and responded on that day, and talk about the people impacted by the rise in hate, bad policies, and violence after 9/11. If there are local examples of violence, discrimination, or bad legislation, name them. For example, the murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi on September 15th, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona, marked the first of many hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11. Crimes that, to this day, continue to impact not just Muslims but those who are perceived to be.
- Provide a solution, vision for the future that connects with your community values and includes actionable step(s) your audience can take to move toward that positive future.
If you’re seeking additional resources and programming, let us know! We are here to support you in whatever way you decide to speak up. We can help you brainstorm your messaging angle and help get your writing placed in local or regional outlets. For any questions and additional support, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.