Building a New America

The first week of November 2008 was a turning point in my life. President Barack Obama was elected and I felt a deep inner desire to move to Washington, DC to offer my assistance to him in any way possible. I sensed that his leadership, challenging the socio-economic norms of America, would face many struggles. Relocating was not possible for me, so I began searching for a way to contribute in the monumental redirection of American society. Eight years later the pendulum swung in the opposite direction.

Our last four years have been marred by the accentuation of racial and ethnic hatred that thoroughly characterized our country’s earlier history. I recall reminding the Muslims in attendance at one Friday Prayer that The Almighty reminds us in Qur’an (2:216) that we may not like a situation but by it, He brings about much good. For Black and Brown people in America, the good has been very difficult to see during the past four years.

But as my wife and I listened to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris address our national challenges and their plans to address them, I once again asked myself, ”What can I do to help?” Their message calling for national unity will probably be an uphill struggle, especially in view of the fact that almost half of our population actively or tacitly supports racial and ethnic bigotry and hatred. So what can I do?

Notwithstanding, a little more than half of our nation recognizes our need for a ubiquitous development of a new socio-economic reality — one which celebrates diversity with equity and justice for all. Our multicultural citizenry speaks and listens through differing voices that reflect different ethnic sociocultural norms which may not be understood or appreciated by outsiders.

I believe that our collective future is predicated upon our ability to articulate our commonalities rather than accentuating our differences. So what can I do? I can speak through the voice of my ethnic sociocultural experience. I can champion the call for strengthening our common human desire for equity and justice for all citizens. I can work cooperatively with others of different religious and ethnic experiences for our common good. Rather than fanning the flames of social-economic partitioning, I can support those activities that bring us together. And most importantly — I can invite you to do the same.

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Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D.

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D.

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Education Sociologist, Imam, Husband, Father, Grandfather and U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran.