University of Southern California

CRCC American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute

Linda Sarsour

Image of Linda Sarsour


Linda Sarsour is a working woman, racial justice and civil rights activist, every Islamophobe's worst nightmare, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” She is the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and Senior Strategist for Take on Hate, a recently launched campaign which aims to change perceptions of Arab and Muslim Americans including refugees. In 2013, she co-founded the Muslim Democratic Club of New York, the first of its kind in NYC. 


In wake of the police murder of Mike Brown, she co-founded Muslims for Ferguson to build solidarity amongst American Muslim communities and encourage work against police brutality. She is a member of the Justice League NYC, a leading NYC force of activists, formerly incarcerated individuals, and artists working to reform the New York Police Department and the criminal justice system. Linda Sarsour was an integral part of the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays that most recently incorporated Eid Al Adha and Eid Al fitr, two holiest Muslim holidays into the New York City public school calendar. She has received numerous awards and honors including "Champion of Change" by the White House, the New York City Council's Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Award and received the inaugural American Muslim of the Year honor from the Council on Americans Islamic Relations. She has written for and has been featured in local, national, and international media discussing impact of domestic policies that target Arab and Muslim American communities, immigration and criminal justice reform, racial justice and coalition building, and Middle East affairs.

Vision Statement

My vision is to see the Muslim American community become a strong political force that is represented in all facets of government on a local and national level — a community that is strategic and consistent in its civic engagement. I hope to one day be a politician that will represent the issues of Muslims as well as issues that affect all those in our communities. My vision also includes the completion of the YWCA of Brooklyn’s community center which will be a hub for progressive thought and programming for women and girls, and a place that will cultivate young women leaders of all races and backgrounds and to see that the Arab American Association of New York purchase its own building, expand and serve beyond the Arab American community in New York City.

AMCLI Experience

When I think of my experience as an AMCLI fellow I think of these words: inspiration, hope, and future. AMCLI is a program that has brought together the finest and brightest of the Muslim American community in the United States. They have created a network of young, energetic and passionate leaders whose mission is to change the world and make it a better place. Through this program I have made allies but more importantly friends that are working on my behalf as I am working on their behalf. The level of intelligence and passion in the room is remarkable. After each residency program, I leave feeling refreshed and reenergized to face any challenges that come my way because I feel secure to know that there are others just like me in the same struggle. This has been an unforgettable experience that has equipped me with new skills and ways of strategic thinking as how to move our community forward, how to build Muslim power. The difference between AMCLI and other programs is that it has put into consideration what we can do to keep these relationships alive and working for years to come. The AMCLI 2009 fellows truly are “the change they want to see in this world.”