Alan Iijima is a longtime supporter of Muslim Advocates and a member of our advisory council. He wants you to join him as a monthly donor to Muslim Advocates on behalf of his entire family.
Read his full message below or scroll to the bottom to sign up today!
In February of 1942, the President of the United States gave my family 48 hours to sell their house and all of their belongings. They were then rounded up and shipped to hastily constructed prisons in Tule Lake, California and Topaz, Arizona. They and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were interned there for the next 4 years. During that time, fathers were separated from their wives and children, babies grew up under guard towers, and grandparents died behind barbed wire. My family, who came to this country 25 years earlier, worked their entire adult lives to build a home and a life for their children. All of that was taken away in an instant; no trial, no jury, and no crime committed. They lost their freedom and the right to pursue their dreams, just for being Japanese American.
This story is more relevant today than ever. Promises of a Muslim registry, using Japanese American internment as precedent, terrified my family. When I took my Shahada and converted to Islam in early 2017, my family feared that I would be the second generation of Iijimas who would be persecuted for my identity.
But my Grandma did not let fear silence her. She spent the rest of her life pushing back against bigotry. On August 28, 1963, she dragged my dad and aunt to the March on Washington, where they protested racial and economic inequality. In 1969, she co-founded one of the first pan-Asian American civil rights group on the East Coast, Asian Americans for Action, in part to protest the Vietnam War. And in 2001, at 83 years old, she took me to my first protest, raging with her cane on the ground and her fist in the air, against the war in Afghanistan and the Patriot Act. I continue this fight in her memory, and it’s a big part of why I’ve worked at Muslim Advocates for the past five years. Our dedicated team tirelessly works to ensure that what happened to my family, and what continues to happen to others, becomes a distant history.
It is our duty to put up a fight. It is our duty to win. Join our monthly donor program, and make a pledge to stand with us on the front lines; month by month, minute by minute, second by second. Monthly donors are a special group of supporters who believe so deeply in our work that they have decided to become monthly donors. They want to see our nation not repeat the mistakes of the past. And understand that this fight requires a sustained commitment.
With your monthly donation, Muslim Advocates fights in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks and to make your vision a reality. Your gift connects our community with the resources it needs to push back against hate, provide legal assistance for individuals and American Muslim communities, and protect houses of worship throughout the United States. You’re also helping us respond quickly and flexibly to ever-changing attacks against our community.
This group of committed monthly donors has given us the strength to fight hate and discrimination year after year, for the past 15 years. Will you help ensure Muslim Advocates is there this year and for however long it takes until we end this hate — for good?
Advisory Council Member