The fear-mongering about Islam and refugees and the uptick in hate crimes since the election has Muslim and refugee Pittsburghers afraid. Even people who recognize Islamophobia as a real problem don’t know how to help. From Ignorance to Action works to address each of these problems through 3 actions:
Muslim and refugee speaking tour: We will run 6 speaking events with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. Each event will have a panel of speakers from Pittsburgh’s Muslim and refugee communities. Three of the events will focus on youth issues and three will be for adults. The panels will give people who have never spoken to a Muslim or refugee a chance to dispel ignorance, and build empathy. They will also be a platform for members of these marginalized communities to be respected and honored for their expertise.
Neighborhood Canvassing: Over the past year JVP-Pittsburgh and our partners at the Thomas Merton Center and the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh have canvassed several neighborhoods. We go to businesses and homes asking people to put up a free poster in their window or door saying “Refugees Welcome Here” or “Stop Profiling Muslims.” It’s a visible way to show solidarity and unity. It’s a way to begin conversations. And it’s a way for Muslim and refugee neighbors to track what spaces are committed to their safety and inclusion in the community. We will organize 3 neighborhood canvases over the first 100 Days.
Bystander Intervention Trainings: When incidents of harassment occur in public spaces well-meaning people often freeze; they want to help but don’t know how. This is known as “bystander syndrome”. We will address this problem through a series of bystander intervention trainings. Each training uses case studies and role play to practice a variety of techniques individuals can use to intervene when they witness harassment. We will run 3 Bystander Intervention trainings over the first 100 Days.