On Monday, July 24th 2017, MALA held an event at the historic Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The event, “Muslim American Journeys: Collecting, Preserving, and Archiving Stories from the Muslim American Community”, in partnership with American Folklife Center and NPR’s StoryCorps oral history project, was a celebration of MALA’s collection of over 350 stories of Muslim Americans – many of which are archived in the Library of Congress as part of the program. The event also showcased Muslim Americans’ diversity, individuality, innovative contributions to mainstream American society, and assimilation as proud citizens.
Panelists included Ahmed Salim, a native from Pakistan now running for Congress; Supna Zaidi, a Pakistani-American chronicling her life as a liberal Shia growing up in California; and Zabi Rahat, an Afghan refugee who carved out a new life through the opportunities and resources that democracy was able to offer in America.
Stephen Winick from American Folklife Center provided thorough information to the audience about recording and archiving stories from within their communities. Tamara Thompson from StoryCorps highlighted the community partnership with MALA for the past two years.
The event provided a platform for dialogue and discourse, furthering an understanding of the struggles and successes of Muslim Americans. The archived stories were showcased through a listening session and panel discussion, in which attendees were given the ability to hear intriguing journeys of Muslim Americans through their own first person narration. The editing and recording of such journeys were made possible through MALA’s community partnership with StoryCorps.