Throughout the weekend of September 8-10, 2011, The Arab American National Museum (AANM) and the National Network of Arab American Communities (NNAAC) captured the experiences of Arab Americans ten years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Fifteen conversations between Arab Americans from across Michigan and the nation were recorded to document issues of profiling and stereotyping in the post-9/11 era. The three conversations below were recorded at the AANM through a partnership with StoryCorps.
One of the largest oral history projects of its kind, StoryCorps provides Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. StoryCorps does this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Jamila and Nour are students at Dearborn’s Unis Middle School, where most of the students are Arab American. They, along with their class, participated in a year-long journalism project called The Living Textbook, in which students worked with professional reporters and photographers to learn the craft. The students' photographs were featured in an exhibit at the Arab American National Museum in Summer 2011. Jamila and Nour talk about being Arab, living in Dearborn, and being cast into the national spotlight through The Living Textbook project.
Mirvat and Miriam are a mother and daughter from Dearborn. Mirvat is in middle school and was a participant in The Living Textbook project, in which mostly Arab American students at Unis Middle School spent a year training to be journalists. Mirvat and her mother Miriam talk openly about what it means to be Arab and Muslim in Michigan in the post-9/11 era.
Michigan State Rep. Rashida Tlaib is interviewed by Brooklyn-based Arab American community activist Linda Sarsour. These two Muslim women talk about anti-Arab backlash after 9/11, and, for Rashida, how they influenced her decision to get involved in politics.