Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest of seven children of Palestinian immigrants. Her father owned a small market in the Crown Heights neighborhood—he called it Linda’s. She entered an arranged marriage at age 17 and had three children by the time she was in her mid-20s. But motherhood did not prevent her foray into activism. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, she spoke out fiercely for the civil rights of American Muslims.

This devotion continues. Sarsour is the co-founder and executive director of MPOWER Change, the first Muslim online organizing platform. And she served for nearly 16 years as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. Through these organizations, she has been at the forefront of major civil rights campaigns, including the call for an end to unwarranted surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities. In the wake of the 2014 police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, she co-founded Muslims for Ferguson to build solidarity among American Muslims and to work against police brutality.

Sarsour co-chaired the 2015 March2Justice—a 250-mile journey on foot, from New York City to Washington, D.C., to deliver a “justice package” to end racial profiling, demilitarize police, and demand the government invest in young people and communities. And in 2017, Sarsour co-chaired the Women’s March on Washington, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The march brought together millions of Americans to rally for change and equality for all. According to The New York Times, Sarsour “has tackled issues like immigration policy, mass incarceration, stop-and-frisk and the New York City Police Department’s spying operations on Muslims—all of which have largely inured her to hate-tinged criticism.”

Sarsour is the author of “We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance,” published in March 2020. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2017.

Linda Sarsour is outspoken, ambitious, and independent. She continues to shatter long-held stereotypes of Muslim women while cherishing her religious and ethnic heritage and while building coalitions across communities.