Enroot responds to terrorist attacks

on Mosques in New Zealand

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

Dear Enroot Community,

Today I cried on the way into work as I learned of the horrific terrorist attacks on Mosques in New Zealand. It just rattled me to my core. It was among the most extreme acts of racism and Islamophobic terrorism many of us have witnessed in our lifetime. It was an attack on Muslims, an attack on immigrants, an attack on people of color, an attack on difference, and a total assault on humanity.

As you know, we are proud that many of Enroot’s students are Muslims. Our students hail from 33 countries. All are students of color. All are immigrants. All have chosen to call this country their home and have sacrificed more than most of us can even imagine to make that possible. It’s heartbreaking that today many of them may feel less safe, less welcome, and less certain of those around them than they did yesterday.

It’s easy to condemn attacks like today’s and write them off as representative of only a narrow fringe element of society. But they are inspired by a White Nationalist narrative that is growing, rather than shrinking, in political prominence around the world. Perhaps more importantly, subtler versions of the same Islamophobia and related bigotry are constantly swirling all around us. When we are passive about their existence, they take root and grow. 

Events like today’s require that each of us take an honest look in the mirror and ask how we fit into this situation - what is our role in addressing it? We must challenge ourselves to find new ways to actively resist Islamophobia, White Nationalism, and anti-immigrant sentiment - What steps can I, Ben Clark, take to be a more effective ally and co-conspirator in dismantling racism and hatred in my daily life?

Most immediately, we can ask ourselves what we are doing to extend compassion and care to our Muslim family as they process this assault on their identity. 

Thank you for your dedication to Enroot students and for being active participants in creating a safer, more loving, more promising future for them in this country.

With love and healing thoughts,

Ben

Enroot is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering immigrant youth to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences.