Kim Joseph is the founder of Muslim Like Me and is a contributor to the Huffington Post and Amaany. A native of Ohio and a practicing Muslim since 2004, Joseph currently resides in New York City where she is working on her memoir and an interfaith book series.
My heater was so loud I could hardly hear my own thoughts, yet I heard that familiar beep from across the room. I walked a few steps to grab my phone, pulled the email icon down my touch screen and opened the message. My breath caught in my throat. Tears streamed down my face. I sat down. Humility, thankfulness, hope, love, surprise and relief was just a bit of what I was feeling. I had been humbled, yet again. In that message I received notice of my very first financial donation for my creative writing workshop, Muslim Like Me. “Do you doubt your dream now?” I asked myself, as I reached for my prayer carpet, unfolded it and placed it on the hard wood floor facing east, raised my hands in takbeer and entered into prayer to give thanks and praise to The Most High.
Muslim like who? Muslim like me! I am Kim Joseph, the founder and instructor for Muslim Like Me, a community-based organization that aims to create social change by bringing Muslims together in community and creativity. My spiritual path guided me to Islam six years ago, Alhumdulillah. Muslim Like Me is my response to the increasing anti-Islam rhetoric in America and abroad. The unified voice of mainstream media is overflowing with ignorance and fear. I would like to challenge that voice with intimate individual truths in the form of stories, memoirs, and poems. These truths will take form in my forthcoming literary anthology, called “Submissions.” With increased funding I would like to build cooperative partnerships with photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and artists, incorporating their expertise into the curriculum. With unlimited funding my target audience would expand nationally and internationally, to anyone who is interested in sponsoring Muslim Like Me in their community.
In the 1960s Sam Cooke sang about the Civil Rights Movement in his song “A Change is Going to Come.” Indeed, change has already begun in my modest classroom at The Islamic Cultural Center of New York on the Upper East Side. Jaime, Malikah, Lateisha, Laneisha, Queensheba, Ayesha, Zara, Giovanni, Bushra, Saba, and Fatih have begun to write their stories. Would you like to write yours? Join us at ICCNY on Saturdays from 2-4 pm. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.
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