Hey DGFAM 👋🏼
Listennnnn. Typing the title “ABC Nightline in my EAST DEARBORN AF backyard” is surreal for so many reasons, & I’m going to try my best to explain how I’m feeling right now.
But first, let me just tell you - I keep a picture of my younger self at my work desk for perspective & motivation, and mannnn, she is staring at me like WOAH right now.
Yesterday, the ABC Nightline crew flew in from New York & posted up in my East Dearborn AF backyard for hours. We had a great conversation with correspondent Juju Chang about anything from being woman of color during Trump’s “presidency” to our hot take on the terrorists who tried kidnapping Big Gretch (& why we’re offended that others won’t just call them terrorists). 😒
We then took a walk in my EAST DEARBORN AF neighborhood with the camera crew trailing us. Of course, my adorable elderly neighbor interrupts us & asks me in Arabic to invite the crew on her porch for Arabic coffee (I really can’t make this up WALLAH). ☠️
It was beautiful. Yasmeen & I are seriously so grateful that God is using us in these ways.
One of the biggest reasons Yasmeen & I founded Dearborn Girl (& its umbrella company, Thawra Network) is to demand that we - Arab or Muslim Americans - are the ones holding the mic & telling our own stories.
Personally, this need for narrative control came out of a pretty complicated relationship I had with mainstream media growing up. I’m sure many of you will see yourselves or your family members in this story.
See, ABC Nightline wasn’t the first news outlet to pay us a visit. Years ago, news outlets came over to interview my family on what it was like being both Arab and American post-9/11 - as if we were naive to believe we could be both.
Years later, local news sat at my kitchen table to interview my late father, Imad Fadlallah (allah yer7amo), on his experiences with Islamophobia & racism as Fordson High’s first Arab or Muslim administrator.
At the time, my father had been through over 50 baseless legal investigations, & countless headlines slandering him & our greater community with vitriol like: “terrorist,” “extremist Muslims” calling our community “Dearbornistan.”
Because of these experiences, I hated the news. I hated mainstream media. I resented the lies so many of us were told, the propaganda that so many of us fell victim to. I hated the media for making us and our communities public enemy #1.
Yet here I am, with a career in media. Funny how that works isn’t it?
We started Thawra Network (& its first baby, Dearborn Girl) to carve out our own undeniable space in this mainstream media landscape. To scream so loud that we overpower the B.S. that is often spewed about us. Thawra is Arabic for revolution, & our vision is to be the largest media company representing Arabs or Muslims in the United States.
If you’re new to our movement, you may not know that this is our fourth national news appearance (we were on ABC News twice in 2019, & this will be our second ABC Nightline feature). It’s seriously so humbling to know that this is only the beginning.
And while it’s obviously cool & fun to be on the news - this is so much more than a segment on ABC: I get to reclaim my story in the same backyard that nourished my youth, in the house that embodies the American Dream my parents built, in the same neighborhood that protected me, & with the same community of people who we do it all for.
This month’s theme is gratitude, & for experiences like these we are eternally grateful.
We can’t wait to share our segment with you as soon as it airs in the next few days (we'll let you know as soon as we do)!
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