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We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance
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We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour shares her intimate coming-of-age story of how growing up Muslim American, feminist, and empowered moved her to become a globally recognized activist on behalf of marginalized communities across the country.

It was a chilly spring morning in Brooklyn when a nineteen-year-old Linda Sarsour stared at her reflection, dressed in a hijab fo
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by 37 Ink
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Thikra She's a local Brooklyn activist and not a foreign one.…moreShe's a local Brooklyn activist and not a foreign one.(less)

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Miranda Reads
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Hey! January 2021 Reading Vlog is up!!
The Written Review
Linda Sarsour - the organizer behind the Women's March (a worldwide protest in 2017 against the election of Donald Trump) has been making waves in her community for years.

She's a strong political activist and never shied away from speaking her truth - that the right to peace, justice and equality should be just that, a fundamental right.

In her memoir, she chronicles her unique childhood and what sparked her journey into activis
Petra-X would like a non-smear lippy for my mask
Harry Belafonte, who wrote the foreword, seems to be playing both sides of the fence. CNN. I put it down to hyperbole and misinformation. I don't comment on American politics (view spoiler). It would be hard to do anything but love someone who sang Daaaaay-O, daaaaay-O, daylight come and me wan' go home. Come Mr. Tallyman, tally me ban ...more
Sleepless Dreamer
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I have so many thoughts about this book, wow.

So We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders is Linda Sarsour's memoir. She recalls her childhood in Brooklyn, the beginning of her activism, and the Women's March. It's a memoir but it's also very much about speaking up and being yourself in a world that might not accept you. It's a powerful book, engaging and well written. 

I'm going to split this review into topics because I realized I'm just all over the place when it comes to this book's content. In short,
Ilaf Esuf
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sarsour’s book is a prime example of why history matters. It’s not just the events themselves, it’s not the date, place, or time. It’s the people that were and continue to be affected. By taking us through personal narratives, Sarsour is able to contextualize and explain the significance of a transformative period in history—one that continues to have lasting impacts. Beyond diving into the harmful effects of 9/11, Sarsour also shares insights on what it takes to organize a movement. While I wis ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Linda Sarsour starts her book with one of the most important Orientalist issues in understanding Islam in the West. She clarifies the definition of Jihad (جهاد‎) and how it is used in daily life compared to the common misconception of the term in the West. Jihad (جهاد‎) is a personal and spiritual choice which simply means “struggle”. She ends the book by showing us what does it mean ”NOT to be a bystander”. As an example, she mentions people such as Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favourites
5 out of 5. Amazing and so important. Everyone needs to read this book.
Kathy McC
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not generally a reader of memoirs, but this is an amazing read about an amazing woman. One person, with a penchant for what is just and true, can make a difference. Thank you Ms. Sarsour!

"No matter how pitched the battle or drawn out the fight, if we do not waver, we will prevail."

"Look around you, my brothers and sisters. We are each other's greatest hope, the beating heart of a nation. We are what democracy looks like."

"For me, this call to peaceful, yet courageous action expresses out h
From Brooklyn street smart girl to activist and co-organizer of The Women's March, Palestinian Muslim American Linda Sarsour teaches us all how to stand tall for our beliefs all the while loving each another. This memoir is a must read. Loved it!! ...more
Katherine Wojtan
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am grateful for brave and committed women working for justice, especially those that take risks to make the world a better place. Linda Sarsour is definitely one of those women.

Linda is a Palestinian Muslim and grew up in Brooklyn. She followed the lead of her beloved Aunt Basemah into community work. Her skills and spirit opened doors for more involvement and bigger roles. As a result of Linda’s work she has experienced threats and been under surveillance, she has struggled to balance family
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thank you to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy

Available May 1st 2020

Wow. I am completely in shambles after reading this book. As a long time fan of Linda Sarsour on social media, I was elated to read her memoir. Part rally cry, part sociological analysis, part community organizational lessons, "We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" is a book that will linger in your thoughts for a long time. Every other chapter, I found myself reaching for a tissue or two. Sarsour is r
Mariah Suiter Allen
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Linda Sarsour is as powerful a writer as she is a speaker. I read the whole book hearing her strong Brooklyn accent in my mind. She is unapologetic and direct in a way I hope I someday can be. She calls for change and backs up all of her claims not just with facts, but with the stories of the people the facts affect. This book is a call to action that I feel I must answer. I stand with Linda, and I hope to someday be a tenth of the activist she is.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Compassionate and courageous, this memoir will open your heart.
Devin Shuman
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this book.
Lexi (Reads and Riesling)
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Linda Sarsour, community activist extraordinaire, has written a beautiful and raw memoir that resists and counters the vitriol that has been flung at her and her community through the years.

Sarsour begins her book with a powerful story about the moment she decided to wear a hijab. She was 19, married, and pregnant with her first child. Weaving in a story from her childhood, Sarsour explains her sometimes complex relationship with her identity, and why choosing to wear a hijab was such a profoun
Alexandria Osborne
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who cares about women rights, immigrant rights, racial justice or rights for any marginalized group. But more important, anyone who has doubts or has an impression of a progressives as too left, antisemitic, or worse anti-American,  should read. Those who listen to the dangerous rhetoric of some on the far right should balance that with reading what progressives really believe through the eyes of this unapologetic Muslim Arab American patriot. 

We see how Ms. Sarsour grows
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I had high hopes, wanting to have a more nuanced portrait of Sarsour than the hateful caricatures from the right and the reactive stereotypes from the Jewish press. The book is Linda Sarsour 101, a breezy, but tonally instrumental politician’s memoir. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: this book will inspire hundreds of young people, especially young Muslim women. There are lessons about activism, concerns about state surveillance, a bit about Palestine, a glimpse into Muslim Brooklyn, yet litt ...more
Shirley Freeman
Linda Sarsour is certainly not a bystander. She has accomplished more in her young life than most folks in a lifetime - often in spite of serious challenges. She is best known for being one of the primary organizers of the women's march on Washington. Her memoir is an impassioned plea for all of us to work together to make our society more just and equitable. Written and read in her own voice, Linda's story is an important and inspirational one for our time. ...more
Jacquelyn Fusco
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to be like Linda Sarsour when I grow up even though I am 31 and she was 25 when she was elected Executive Director of Arab American Association of NY. She is an amazing, effective, brave organizer and I am inspired by her. I don't know if I could do half of what she does, but it has always been my dream to. ...more
Megan Lawson
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
"We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders" by Linda Sarsour is a great book. Her story is one worth reading and emulating. I strive to be an activist and a pursuer of good in her wake; this book is a good reminder that we can all be powerful movements of change for our world. ...more
Nicole Means
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Linda Sarsour's memoir is a must read in today's global climate. She is a model of activism and has devoted her life's mission to model what it means to be an upstander. Despite facing adversity, she continues to organize and speak out injustices. I have so much respect for Sarsour and her life's work.

The only complaint I have about this book is my own personal disdain for memoirs. When reading these, I always get annoyed with the usage of "I'' and "Me." (Sidenote: I prefer first person pieces
Joy Messinger
[4 stars] A straightforward memoir of Linda Sarsour’s childhood, early activism, and recent organizing. I found the first two-thirds incredibly compelling - how her Palestinian family and Brooklyn upbringing rooted her in Muslim feminist understanding, how the close relationship and later death of a mentor stays at the heart of her ongoing work, how coming of age in a post-9/11 New York City further radicalized her. The final third centered the importance of strong relationships and trust in wom ...more
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring read! I listened to the audio book and found it even more engaging. Linda Sarsour is a force to be recokned with. This is not a story of her tomtomming about her work, rather a sober reminder of how much community organizing can and has achieved, facing incredible roadblocks, from people we may consider liberal. This memoir reminds us the importance and power of Black, Brown and Muslim womxn coming together to challenge every system that oppresses.

This book is about intersectionali
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
somebody jokingly asked me how someone can write a memoir before even turning 40. when you read about linda's journey as an activist, you will see how and why. her now 40 years life, in some ways, seems like a lifetime or even many lives lived. i picked up the book because linda is a dear friend but, really, it should be read by every person who wants to understand how activists are made and what it means to live life with purpose. ...more
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: palestine
so good!!! 4.5 stars, so relatable as a first gen Palestinian American Muslim
Nazek Habatfha
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
An inspiring read towards activism and justice based in love and faith. Reveals details behind how authorities entrap and frame people of color and minorities and systems that enable cycles of poverty and violence. Insightful look into the life of Linda Sarsour if you know/follow her.
Joanne Greene
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Linda Sarsour is an advocate for Muslim-Americans. I use the word "advocate" rather than "activist" because that is how she describes her early work, which then transitioned into activism. She was one of the organizers of the Women's March on Washington in January of 2017. Prior to that she was an advocate for Muslims women who needed help accessing social and legal services because of language and cultural barriers. She became a much more public and vocal advocate following the 9/11 attack on t ...more
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow. This book was so inspiring and empowering. It's actually the first audio book I've ever finished! I highly recommend listening to it, as Sarsour herself is the narrator, which made it all the more personal and real. I'll probably post a longer, more in depth review, but for now, I think everyone should read this beautiful tale of activism, strength, love, and resistance. ...more
Eduardo García
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm always grateful when activists like Sarsour write their memoirs! She has had a fascinating journey in her various roles fighting for racial justice. ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've been following Linda for over 10 years - I was immediately drawn to her efforts, her cause, both as an American Muslim, a Palestinian woman that was unashamed about her beliefs as she fought for and continues to fight for the oppressed, the under-served in her community as well as those outside it's borders, across the nation and world.

This first-hand account of her humble beginnings, her early childhood, her marriage and raising her family, while rising up to become a national leader, is
This is a brilliant, powerful, moving book, a memoir in a conversational tone that is so beautiful, as if you are sitting with Ms. Sarsour at a table and she is telling you the story of your life in a stream of effortless-seeming prose.

She is Palestinian-American and Muslim-American, first-generation born in the United States, from Brooklyn (where I also was born, although I am “from” Iowa). Her story is all-American, an immigrant’s story, and it is also the story of a powerful activist, femini
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“What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? … The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken. —Audre Lorde, author and revolutionary feminist” 1 likes
“Among them were Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Muslim women ever elected to the House. Rashida’s and Ilhan’s victories were more than symbolic for me, as I counted both women as dear friends. Not only had I witnessed their trials and watched them triumph, but the fact that Ilhan wore a hijab while Rashida did not was, for me, a beautiful expression of the independence and diversity of Muslim women. African American women, Latina women, and Native American women also won big on election night, most of them running on progressive platforms calling for health care for all, tuition-free college education, environmental protections, gun law reforms, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and refugees.” 0 likes
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