Seek Justice, Wherever You Are

From the Human Rights Campaign’s Ramadan Reflections campaign

[This essay first appeared on the Human Rights Campaign’s Ramadan Reflections page 13 June 2017]

This summer, we launched a program for incarcerated LGBTQ Muslims at Masjid al-Rabia. A collection of shared resources, advocacy work, and a pen pal program for our siblings behind bars with over 300 participants — and growing every day.

This holy month of Ramadan, we are supporting and engaging with our siblings on the inside like never before. It has been one of the most rewarding parts of running a mosque, not only for being able to provide such a service but also from the contributions and critical support we’ve received from our incarcerated family. Our mission is captured perfectly by something a pen pal of mine shared early in our ministry: “We are called upon to seek justice, wherever we are.”

We are called upon to seek justice, wherever we are.

There is so much wrong in the world. So much cruelty and ignorance. There is so much injustice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. How can any one person face down these institutions of oppression — white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism — and survive, let alone change anything?

We must seek justice, wherever we are.

I am only one person. My efforts to change the world for the better are nothing but a drop in the well. But a monsoon is nothing more than a hundred million tiny drops together in unison, shifting the tides and moving mountains as one unstoppable force.

I pray every action of mine be a drop in the well. I want every step I take to be a step towards justice. I want to help foster a Muslim community that combats anti-blackness, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia — a community that is accessible for all. An Ummah that uplifts the most marginalized and prioritizes compassion and equity over power and profit.

If all of us seek justice from wherever we are, if we make a commitment to that daily incremental shift towards equality — at the dining room table, behind bars, in the street, on your social media account — together we can move mountains.

Imam Ali calls upon us to “Be an enemy to the oppressor and a helper to the oppressed” — he also said “to delay is to lose.”

We are called upon to seek justice, wherever we are.

Will you join me?