A Revival of Sisterhood

When I joined the board of Reviving Sisterhood two years ago, it was clear that the world was more than ready for this organization. I already knew the consistent thoughtfulness, intelligence, organization and activism of my Muslim sisters; the women I am lucky to be surrounded by all have important things to say, and they are saying it. In a word, we were *woke,* but were still lacking a space for us to gather and pool our resources to affect real change in often-ignored areas: social and political action and philanthropy.

These spaces exist in droves elsewhere, like my professional networks, but were lacking within communities within which I focused on my faith.

RISE became the space that combined these two things I’m passionate about. My faith and my commitment to improving our own communities while helping others are equally inextricable from who I am, so it has been such a relief to find a space to bring my whole self. Here, I could focus on my own growth in these areas, while in the context of my faith as a Muslim. It truly is a Revival of Sisterhood--we see women in the history of Islam who were strong, active members and unifiers of their communities, who strove to learn and teach, and I see the echos of their commitment in the women leading our community today.

“It’s been an extraordinary experience to watch the beginning of RISE, when our board was hammering out our mission and gingerly gauging the interests of aspiring lady leaders, and how this evolved to a large network of women who brought all of their amazing ideas to the recent inaugural conference.

My suspicion is that we have always been *woke* (how could we not be, with the legacy of powerful women in Islam?) but RISE gave us a platform to recognize that we are. Rather than telling Muslim women how great they are (because we all know that already), RISE is a means to celebrate all of us, with intention. I mean, it’s necessary. The patriarchy is everywhere, pervasive in all the communities I know--social, professional, religious, book clubs, media, my favorite TV shows, the line at the coffee shop, everywhere--and we can’t smash it if we don’t take the time to reflect in a space where the patriarchal social construct is not allowed. (I’m kidding, but just a little.)

All kidding aside, though, the most heartening thing I’ve seen as a result of this growing, powerful organization is the outpouring of support from not just Muslim women, but everyone who loves and cares about Muslim women. I defy anyone to dredge up the tired stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed while our families and friends are cheering us on as we organize and make giant strides. Yes, that includes our fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons. (Of course our moms always had our backs.) Are you wondering about the sisters? I didn’t forget them! We’re all here, in the RISE community, building each other up and planning the next event.

See you there?