Last Thursday, the White House honored Brooklyn activist, Linda Sarsour, and nine others with the Champion for Change Award for their advocacy work in their communities.
Linda Sarsour, 31, who was not drawn to activism as a student, is now the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AANY). She joined AANY in 2002 to provide guidance to a worried Muslim-American community in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Since then, her work has expanded to areas such as community development, youth empowerment, community organizing, civic engagement and immigrants’ rights advocacy.
Sarsour’s advocacy is far reaching, and has also led her to local Democratic politics. In the months leading up the 2008 presidential elections, she organized a large voter turnout initiative directed towards the Arab American community in Brooklyn community.
Most recently, Sarsour organized and protested at the forefront of two rallies held by the Muslim community in New York: the first was an Islamic prayer and protest held in Zuccoti Park to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the second was a rally and prayer to protest the NYPD surveillance of Muslims in New York.
The Champion of Change Award, which is part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative, is one of number of awards that Sarsour has received which includes the Brooklyn Do-Gooder Award from the Brooklyn Community Foundation.