New York has always stood firmly apart from “the rest of America.” We dealt with last week’s terror scare like true New Yorkers, and when Trump’s phobic rhetoric during his campaign threatened to marginalize Muslim communities around the country, Brooklyn’s comedy scene rallied to the cause. But we still have a lot of work to do in a city where someone where a Muslim woman can be set on fire.
Today, Mayor De Blasio announced a new initiative called #IAmMuslimNYC, an ad campaign centered around promoting respect and diversity toward Muslim New York residents as well as other faith-based communities. In collaboration with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Commission on Human Rights, #IAmMuslimNYC aims to raise public awareness through the use of social media and increased outreach programs with the hopes of bringing New Yorkers of all backgrounds together in the fight against xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Ad campaigns are something of an insular bid for attention, since it’s unlikely the hashtag will trend outside of NYC. But it rings out as a very clear rebuttal against a certain orange-haired man running for president — namely, that New York won’t stand for it.
In addition to papering subways and other public spaces with positive signage, the city’s initiative will include a series of free workshops on cultural sensitivity and awareness starting in October, and other events designed to get anyone still sleeping in this city woke. There’s a new fact sheet called “NYC Human Rights Law Protections for Muslims (and Those Perceived as Such): 1o Things You Should Know,” which you can read here. It will soon be available in nine languages.
“Brooklynites will rally around our Muslim neighbors at a time when they are being inappropriately targeted with hatred and violence, and we will do the same for any community facing similar ill treatment,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams in the press release.
Until the pilot program officially launches, you can also make an effort to frequent Muslim-owned businesses in your neighborhood, or attend theater shows that highlight immigrant stories. Human beings should already know how to treat others with respect and kindness, no matter their background/religion/ethnicity, in New York moreso than ever, but a good amount of the population needs a healthy reminder on how not be a dick. Here’s looking at you, Trump.