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

We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders book10+++ stars. A must read for those who believe in inclusion, hope and a better world.

Sarsour, one of the co-organizers of the Women’s March, is a warrior for justice. She believes our highest responsibility is to care for one another by showing up and speaking out for the voiceless among us.

The book starts with a powerful foreward by Harry Belafonte. Belafonte marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, JR and John Lewis during the civil rights movement. Belafonte was present and provided the inspiration for the social justice voltron, a powerful trifecta of Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez, when they created the MARCH2JUSTICE.

The march was a 250 mile, nine-day event, from New York to Washington, DC. On the seventh day of the march, Freddie Gray died. He was killed in Baltimore, so the marchers changed their route in order to march on the western side of Baltimore to join other protestors.

Sarsour describes her memoir as a social justice manifesto. She warns that silence immobilizes us. She believes in using our voices as megaphones and states that we must never negotiate away or compromise our principles and values. She advocates for us to join together to become this nation’s unshakable moral compass.

Her memoir is packed with poignant, heart wrenching stories, including the NYPD policing policies and practices against Muslims after 9/11. Through her efforts and the efforts of many others, NY Police Commissioner, William Bratton, in 2014 shuttered the Muslim surveillance program and indicated that the program had not generated any leads to terrorist enterprises. It was at this same point in time that Donald Trump was considering a presidential campaign run.

Part One of Sarsour’s book begins with this quote by Valerie Kaur, founder of the Revolutionary Love Project:

“The passion to change the world flickers in you like a flame, and if you let that light go out, you will be robbing the world of your greatest gift. Your task today is not to know what the future holds; your task is to vow to protect that flame.”

Highly, highly recommend! This is the best book I have read in 2023 and will most likely be the best book I read this entire year.