Maytha Alhassen

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Maytha Alhassen


Maytha Alhassen is a University of Southern California (USC) Provost Ph.D. Fellow in American Studies and Ethnicity, studying historical encounters between Black internationalism and the Arab diaspora, race & ethnicity, social justice & the arts, travel & global flows, gender, media and narrative healing.

Alhassen's dissertation Engaged Witness: A Post-1945 Transnational History of the Grammar and Geopolitics of Black-Arab solidarity explores the transnational intersections between Black and Arab sociopolitical projects and metaphysical imaginaries through historical-anthropological methods while being attentive to cultural studies theories. Studying social movements in the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th & 21st Century, Alhassen conducted research for Manuel Castells's critically acclaimed book Network of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age.

Her work bridges the worlds of social justice, academic research, media engagement and artistic expression. Artistically, Alhassen writes and performs poetry and has worked as a performer and organizer for the play “Hijabi Monologues.” Alhassen regularly appears on Al Jazeera English social media focused program "The Stream" as a substitute co-host/digital producer. An unexpected foray into hosting and broadcast journalism began in 2007 with the Arab American TV variety show “What’s Happening” on Arabic station ART. She shared what it means to be a US-born woman practicing Islam with CNN and regularly appears on HuffPost Live, Fusion Network, The Young Turks and Pivot.

Alhassen’s writings have appeared in CNN, Huffington Post, Mic, Counterpunch and in academic journals. She has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and The Nation.

Alhassen received her B.A. in Political Science and Arabic and Islamic Studies from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master’s in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she researched Malcolm X’s connections to the Arab world for the Malcolm X Project and worked with arts-based social justice organization Blackout Arts Collective.

As a member of the collective, she has facilitated creative literacy workshops with incarcerated youth at Rikers Island, assisted in organizing a Hip Hop Film Festival in the prison's high school and wrote an introduction on the role of Love in dismantling the prison industrial complex for an anthology of the youth's poetry and visual art titled One Mic. Alhassen recently co-edited a book on the Arab uprisings, youth and social media with HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, DemandingDignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions, (White Cloud Press).

Additionally, Alhassen, a certified yoga instructor through the Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind teacher training program, teaches yoga to people and communities seeking healing, is a committed global wanderluster, and pens poems sub rosa. [1]

Education

  • BA UC - Los Angeles, 09/2004
  • MA Columbia University Graduate School, 05/2008[2]

Publications

Alhassen, M., Shihab-Eldin, A. (2012). Demanding Dignity: Young Voices on the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions. White Cloud Press. [3]

"Green Deen"

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"Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet", was written by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Keith Ellison.

The following people cotributed in some way to the development of the project: Van Jones, Dr. R. L'Heureux Lewis, Musa Syeed, Ahlam Syeed, Yasir Syeed, Ismail Ocasio, Idris Braithwaite, Samiha Rahman, Sister Aisha Al-Wadiwiyya, Rami Nasashibi, Amir Al-Islam, Debbie Altmontaser, Asad Jafri, Abdul Qadir, Nimco Ahmed, Omar Mullick, Cynthia Hamilton, Professors Rosa Marie Pegueros, Sonia Jarvis, Ed Sermier, Al Killilea, Lynn Pasquerella,

Those thankedd for their help included Terry Marshall, Maytha Alhassen, Tanjila Islam, Najima Nazyat, Yusef Ramalize, Taj James, Jungwon Kim, Suyoung Kim, Wahija Akhtar, Awais Khaleel, Anas Canon, Bracken Hendricks, Mahea & Alea, Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Marianne Manilov, Zaid Mohiuddin, Jody Tonita, Ferentz Lafargue, CAIR-NY, the Green For All Fellows, and the 2008 National Urban Fellows.[4]

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation toured "Palestine" and in Israel, early January 2015.

The full list of delegates included five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid), Tef Poe and Tara Thompson (Ferguson/Hands Up United), journalist Marc Lamont Hill, Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC), Charlene Carruthers (Black Youth Project), poet and artist Aja Monet, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), and Maytha Alhassen.[5]
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On a historic trip to Palestine, freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, and Atlanta were able to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation, and to learn from the people who are actively resisting on the front lines. In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, and features "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.[6]

Call for Justice

Call for Justice: Joint Letter on American Muslim Solidarity Against Police Brutality, January 26, 2015;

We are contacting you on behalf of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)(1) and Muslims for Ferguson(2) to ask for your solidarity in the struggle and call for justice concerning the tragic and unnecessary police and federal law enforcement killings of Black men, women, and children in the United States.

From the time of our Noble Prophet ﷺ‎, anti-Black and anti-African racism has plagued Muslim societies and communities. The first martyr in the early days of Islam was Sumayyah (RA), who had black skin and was a victim of violence at the hands of the governing authorities of Makkah. Other companions with black skin, such as Ammar bin Yassir (RA) and Bilal (RA), were also victims of ridicule and torture by the same authorities. State violence against marginalized communities is not a new development. History has proven time and again that Muslims are not immune to these forms of oppression.

Indeed, these oppressive behaviors and practices go against the messages that are at the heart of our Holy Qur’an and Prophetic traditions.

Signatories included Maytha Alhassen.

References