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September 2010

The Empathic Civilization

A smart and refreshing call to rethink the human narrative, by author and social thinker Jeremy Rifkin: “The Empathic Civilization is emerging. A younger generation is fast extending its empathic embrace beyond religious affiliations and national identification to include the whole of humanity and the vast project of life that envelops the Earth.” — Jeremy Rifkin

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"Shadow Generation" – HuffPost Feature

SHADOW GENERATION Valarie Kaur – Huffington Post Feature – 9/15/10 What’s missing in the national firestorm over Park51? The voices of young people. Here’s how young people can speak out against Islamophobia without creating new enemies, starting on today. September 15, 2010 — Nine years ago today, the murder of a family friend changed the course of my life. His name was Balbir Singh Sodhi. Four days after 9/11, he was shot in the back in front of his gas station by a man who yelled when arrested, “I’m a patriot! Arrest me and let those terrorists run wild.” Sodhi […]

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915 by 9/15

Tomorrow we will honor the memory of Balbir Singh Sodhi – and all the men and women whose lives have been lost or damaged in the aftermath of 9/11, in hate crimes at home, terrorist attacks abroad, or in two wars raging in far-away lands. Since we launched the Common Ground Campaign few days ago, 717 people have signed our Charter in all 50 states. I invite you to commemorate tomorrow by signing the Charter for Common Ground and share with your friends and family.  Our goal: 915 signatures by 9:15pm on 9/15. www.commongroundcampaign.org  

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Common Ground in the Register

We’re very pleased to land on the front page of today’s New Haven Register.  The reporter Mary O’Leary captured the spirit of our campaign.  Worth the full read: Students’ New Campaign Fights Islamophobia Mary O’Leary – September 13, 2010 NEW HAVEN — Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker who has fought racism for the past nine years, and still she found herself overwhelmed and paralyzed by the anti-Muslim sentiment flowing from controversy over the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York. A student at the Yale Law School, Kaur said the Islamophobia she first observed after the attacks of 9/11, […]

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"9/11 Happened to Us All"

What would happen if we felt empathy for those who we believe hold hateful views?  Would we lose some integral part of our identity or find common humanity? On every 9/11 anniversary, I find myself showing my film or giving a talk, but this year, in the spirit of the Common Ground Campaign, I spent the day listening instead of speaking.  And what I found surprised me. During the memorial at Ground Zero, as families gathered to remember and grieve, one man who lost his wife told the New York Times: “A mosque is built on the site of a […]

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Common Ground on TV

We did it.  In ten days, working with an amazing core of volunteers, we conceived, developed, and launched a full-fledged campaign!  In the first 24 hours, we have hit 36 states, hundreds of co-signers and several news outlets.  And we have only just begun. Sign the Charter.  Host a Dialogue.  Spread the Word. On the 9/11 anniversary tomorrow, as some groups threaten to burn the Qur’an, I invite you to raise your voice and stand for your own vision of America through Common Ground. Share on facebook, blast your networks, urge people to sign the charter and plan to host […]

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Launching the Common Ground Campaign

This morning, I am proud to announce that we launched our campaign!  The Common Ground Campaign urges young people around the country to join us in our pledge to stand against the recent wave of anti-Muslim violence and form common ground through compassionate dialogue: Thanks to an amazing core of students who worked around the clock this weekend, we are launching in time for the nine-year 9/11 anniversary.  Be the first to sign the charter and spread the word. www.commongroundcampaign.org

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Yale Groups Combat Anti-Muslim Sentiment

By Everett Rosenfeld Published by Yale Daily News. When Valarie Kaur LAW ’11 first heard about Ahmed Sharif, the New York City cab driver who was attacked Aug. 24 by a drunken passenger for being Muslim, she did not know how to respond. “We are witnessing a wave of hate crimes across the country, not fully being covered on the news,” she said. “This [situation] is becoming insidious, life-threatening, and serious, but I found myself in a paralysis.” Within a week, Matthew Matera LAW ’11 came to her room to talk about their mutual anger, and an idea was born. The […]

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Cooking Up a Campaign

It is astounding what can happen in one week. Last weekend, my friend Matt stopped by and started to vent his frustration and anger over the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy and the wave of anti-Muslim violence sweeping the country.  I had been paralyzed over the issue for weeks, but hearing him began to thaw my frozen state: I wasn’t alone in my bewilderment and sadness. Matt and I began to reach out to classmates and friends across the country: many of us felt that our voices were not represented in mainstream media.  As young people who grew up with radical […]

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The Politics of Paralysis

In the last few weeks, as the national firestorm over the “Ground Zero Mosque” reached a deafening pitch, I have not been able to stop thinking about a handmade sign hanging in a gas station in Mesa, Arizona. On September 15, 2001, a turbaned Sikh man was murdered in front of this gas station, the first of at least two dozen people murdered in hate crimes in the months after 9/11. Neighbors and strangers sent hundreds of flowers and cards and messages, but the family chose this sign to display on their store wall — as a reminder and a […]

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