May 8, 2017

 We are a group of leaders of vibrant and diverse racial justice, immigrant rights, and interfaith movements who support and stand in solidarity with Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American and Muslim organizer and an international champion of civil and human rights. 

Since the City University of New York School of Public Health extended Linda an invitation to be the 2017 commencement speaker, she has become the target of a vicious smear campaign and character assassination led by two elected officials - New York State Assemblymember Dov Hikind and New York City Council member Rory Lancman. In an op-ed published in The New York Daily News on April 28, 2017, Hikind called Linda a "terrorist sympathizer," an accusation he reiterated in a video he released on May 1, 2017. Lancman has repeatedly endorsed the claim of his colleague on social media and elsewhere. These claims are false and hateful. They are intended to discredit and intimidate Linda and her many allies and supporters.

Linda will not be intimidated. Nor will we. An attack on Linda is an attack on us all.

For nearly two decades, Linda has fought for the rights of the dispossessed, marginalized, and underprivileged. She has stood by those who have faced persecution in the United States and abroad.  We have all had the privilege of working closely with Linda, and we know first-hand that she is a dedicated organizer who brings communities together. 

Just this year, Linda was one of the National Co-Chairs of the Women's March on Washington, an event that drew over 1.2 million people in Washington and over 6 million across the globe. Her work has been honored and celebrated by countless community organizations, the highest levels of government, and popular culture. Former President Barack Obama named Linda a Champion of Change and Time Magazine recently recognized her as one its most Influential People of 2017. Linda's record and character are impeccable and beyond reproach.

We call upon the City University of New York School of Public Health to stand with Linda. We call upon leaders in the New York State Assembly and the New York state government to condemn the false and hateful claims made by Hikind and Lancman. We also call upon people of conscience to support Linda by contacting the offices of Hikind and Lancman and condemning their attacks, by urging the CUNY School of Public Health to honor their commencement speaker invitation, and by visibly expressing your support (#IStandWithLinda) on social media.

Signatories (Organizations Listed for Identification Purposes Only):

Aarti Kohli, Advancing Justice | Asian Law Caucus

Ahmad Abuznaid, Take On Hate      

Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Aisha al-Adawiya, Women In Islam, Inc.

Aja Monet

Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Black Lives Matter

Alida Garcia, INCLUSV

Allison Brown, Communities for Just Schools Fund

Anna Galand, Move On.Org

Anu Joshi, New York State Immigrant Action Fund

Angelo Pinto, The Advancement Project/Justice League NYC

Arjun S. Sethi, Boards of Grassroots Leadership, Charity & Security Network

Audrey Sasson, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)

Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights

Billy Easton, Alliance for Quality Education

Bishop Dr. Raymond H. Rufen-Blanchet, The Clergy Campaign for Social & Economic Justice

Bishop Gene Robinson, The Episcopal Church

Bob Bland, National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington     

Carmen Perez, The Gathering for Justice/National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington

Charlene A. Carruthers, Black Youth Project 100

Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Cristina Jimenez Moreta, United We Dream

Dante Barry, Million Hoodies

Deepa Iyer, Center for Social Inclusion

Diane Steinman, Micah Faith Table

Donna Lieberman, New York Civil Liberties Union

Donna Nevel, Network Against Islamophobia

Dorian T. Warren, Center for Community Change  

Dove Kent

Dr. Ahmad Jaber, Chair, Arab American Association of New York

Elder-Elect Kirsten John Foy

Erica Ford, LIFE Camp, Inc.

Gina Belafonte           

Glenn Harris, Center for Social Inclusion

Gregory A. Cendana,  Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Gustavo Rivera, New York State Senator

Harry and Pamela Belafonte

Hassan Jaber, Take On Hate

Hazel N. Dukes, NAACP (New York State)

Hina Shamsi, American Civil Liberties Union

Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood

Immortal Technique

Jasiri X, 1Hood

Javier H. Valdés, Make the Road New York

Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action of New York

Johanna Puno Hester, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO

Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American

Judith Browne Dianis, Advancement Project

Judith LeBlanc, Native Organizers Alliance

Jussie Smollett

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising.org

Laura Briggs, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts

Lena K Gardner, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism

Leslie Mac, Ferguson Response Network

Macky Alston, Auburn Seminary

Margaret Fung, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Marielena Hincapié, National Immigration Law Center

Marisa Franco, Mijente

Marisa Tomei

Melissa Harris-Perry, Anna Julia Cooper Center

Michael-Ray Mathews, PICO National Network

Michael Blake, New York Assembly

Michael Skolnik, The Soze Agency

Mohammad Khan, Campaign Director, MPower Change

Monifa Bandele, MomsRising.org

Murad Awawdeh, Muslim Democratic Club of New York

Mysonne The General, Hip Hop Artist/Justice League NYC

Natasha Capers, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice

Nihad Awad, Executive Director, Council on American Islamic Relations

Opal Tometi, Black Lives Matter and Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Peter Heltzel, Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary

Peter Nagy, NY Communities for Change

Rabbi Barat Ellman, Professor, Bard Prison Initiative; JFREJ

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Rabbi Justus Baird, Auburn Seminary

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

Rameen Aminzadeh, Beats Rhymes & Relief, Freddie Gray Project

Ramzi Kassem, CUNY School of Law

Raoul Roach, Sankofa.org

Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change

Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, newDharma Community

Rev. Adolphus C. Lacey, PhD, Bethany Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY

Rev. Chloe Breyer, The Interfaith Center of New York

Rev. Dr. Clyde Kuemmerle, Ecclesia Ministries of New York

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

Rev. Dr. Brian D. McLaren, ConvergenceUS.org

Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, Auburn Theological Seminary

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Greenleaf Christian Church

Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Salam Arabic Lutheran Church 

Rinku Sen, Race Forward

Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate

Russell Simmons

Sarab Al-Jijakli, President, Network of Arab American Professionals

Seema Agnani, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Soffiyah Elijah           

Steve Choi, New York Immigration Coalition

Stosh Cotler, Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Tamika Mallory, National Co-Chair, Women's March on Washington         

Umi Selah, The Dream Defenders

Valarie Kaur, The Revolutionary Love Project

Vanita Gupta, Leadership Council for Civil and Human Rights

Vince Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights

Zahra Billoo, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area