Yesterday, I went out to the Arab American Association of New York, which is in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was fairly empty because it was the second day of Ramadan, a time when schedules get flipped around and many people become almost nocturnal. I still got a chance to look around and talk to some people. I did three mini-interviews with women there, really just prompting them to tell me their take on what its like to be a Muslim woman living in the United States.
One woman, 31, was born in the US but had lived most of her childhood in Palestine, then moved back at age 21, married and with a child, to Louisiana, and then to NYC.
One was 20 and had grown up in Brooklyn her whole life. She now only wears her headcovering when she comes home to her old neighborhood.
One was 43, a little older than my demographic, so I'm not sure I'll be using her. She just moved to the US 2 years ago, though, and had only lived and worked within the Arab/Muslim community since being here, so she had a different take on things as well.
I had one other short interview with a white, non-Muslim man. At first glance, this interview makes no sense in the scheme of things, but it actually fits well. He is in charge of the youth programs at the center, teaching SAT prep courses but also helping the youth get involved in activism. It was great to get his perspective on working with the youth and what that means.
It was a really productive day, and I got to talk to women who were pretty different from the ones I've been speaking to in Manhattan. I really appreciated the opportunity!