From all of us at MALA, Happy New Year! We hope 2023 brings you luck, light, and new adventures.
This year, we are kicking off the new year by giving our stories a new home. MALA's new website features a revamped collection of Muslim American Journeys which now allows users to search our catalogue of nearly 600 stories using thematic and identity-based key words. Our ambition has always been to make Muslim American stories as accessible as possible, and to create opportunities for people to learn from and relate to these unique narratives. We hope that this new platform will increase the possibility of these connections and broaden the spotlight on the Muslim American Journeys project.
In 2023, MALA is also seeking strategic expansion of the Muslim American Journeys project at large through the development of new outreach strategies, and new means of capturing stories. Our intention is to begin building a collection of video stories for the Journeys project, which will help further the goals of representation and engagement upon which the program was built. By producing stories in video format, MALA will increase access to these narratives and allow them to be shared on a broader range of media.
Muslim American Journeys has always adapted and evolved and find new avenues of representation for MALA's community. Your gift to the Muslim American Journeys project facilitates that evolution by helping MALA fund new equipment for filming and producing stories, and by supporting specialized staff to ensure that our stories continue to be archived, shared, and represented in the public square.
Thank you for your continued support, we look forward to growing together and sharing new stories in 2023!
As we enter the fall season, we at MALA are lookin g back on a challenging year. Like many organizations, MALA has continued to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we attempt to navigate a world in which human connection is increasingly being facilitated in the virtual space. However, as society begins to open up again, we are excited to be collecting oral histories in person once again.
This fall, MALA is re-engaging with our New York constituency and working to collect new and exciting stories from Muslim American communities in the region. In support of this effort, we are also overhauling some of the tools of our trade: in order to record and produce these stories, MALA will need to update our recording devices to ensure that we are using equipment that is reliable, accurate, and efficient.
In addition to audio recordings, MALA is working to develop a space to record oral histories using video footage of storytellers. This approach will allow those who engage with MALA's oral histories to experience a closer connection with storytellers and will allow stories to be shared across a broader range of media.
MALA has always been dedicated not only to collecting oral histories, but to ensuring that those stories are shared widely, ensuring that they live on as a resource for learning, cultural connection, and community building. By supporting Muslim American Journeys, you help to make these stories more accessible than ever before, and ensure that Muslim narratives remain a part of the American story for years to come.
This month, MALA is excited to announce an all new collection of stories within the Muslim American Journeys project titled, Noble Stories of Resilience, which focuses on the stories of Afghan refugees who have recently resettled in the United States after fleeing the Taliban. These powerful written narratives share stories of unimaginable hardship, struggle, redemption, and resilience, shedding light on the unique experiences of Afghan refugees and their families.
This project began at the beginning of 2022, as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worstened and a new wave of refugees from the region arrived in the United States. At MALA, we felt it was crucial to use our storytelling platform to help share the stories of some of these individuals. Our hope is that these stories provide comfort and catharsis for the storytellers, and a source of understanding, empathy, and global awareness for those who read and engage with them. Muslim American Journeys has always existed as a platform which seeks to build bridges of understanding, education, and compassion, and we are honored to continue to represent these values through Noble Stories of Resilience.
The new collection will launch during the third week of June 2022, coinciding with the UN's World Refugee Day. Until then, all gifts received through the Muslim American Journeys campaign will go towards funding the expansion of this collection, as we work to produce and promote these important stories. We thank you graciously for your continued support, and for your allyship as we continue to build a more compassionate, more understanding world together.
It's a new year, and MALA is kicking off 2022 by making history! In the days before the new year, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a proclamation at the bequest of MALA declaring January Muslim American Heritage Month in the state of Illinois. This proclamation recognizes the centuries-long contributions that Muslims have made to American arts, industry, and society.
For years, the Muslim American Journeys project has been a conduit for sharing these contributions and histories through personal narratives and we are honored to have these stories honored at such a high level in Illinois, where MALA was born.
We are also excited to announce that MALA is one of only eight Chicago organizations to receive the Broadening Narratives grant from the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation in support of the Muslim American Journeys project. These funds will be used to gether a collection of oral histories that spotlight Chicago's Black Muslim communities, and share unique perspectives on race, faith, and family.
As we embark on this new year, and on this new chapter of our journey, your support means more than ever. MALA's mission and impact are expanding rapidly, and the support of our community is critical in this expansion. When you support the Muslim American Journeys project you help MALA amplify awareness about Muslim American histories and perspectives, and enact real, tangible change. Thank you for your continued support and allyship.
As we move into the Fall season, and concerns about the COVID-19 Delta Variant persist, MALA is committed to finding new ways to collect, curate, and share oral histories in the socially-distanced virtual space. Oral history work requires an immense ammount of trust, and an ability to build spaces that are safe and comfortable for individuals to share their stories, and MALA remains committed to sustaining such spaces. As such, MALA is moving forward by hosting storytelling sessions via video conferences, which are then recorded, edited, and published accross a number of platforms to ensure that stories are being told and heard during these challenging times.
This new approach to digital estorytelling is not without its challenges and complexities: digital storytelling requires new infrastructure, new processes, and new approaches to outreach and publishing. MALA's staff and leadership are working hard to confront these challenges and to ensure that our storytellers feel represented, respected, and heard accross these new mediums and realities. When you support the Muslim American Journeys project, you directly fuel these efforts: you empower MALA to empower whole communities through storytelling. Your contribution helps MALA to finance the new and necessary storytelling infrastructure, to build the administrative capacity necessary to process and publish stories, and to provide necessary support and resources to the individuals and communities brave enough to share their stories in this moment.
The Muslim American Journeys project has always represented a unique avenue of representation for Muslim Americans and adjascent communities, and MALA is proud to continue to innovate and expand this platform. Your gift today helps to build representation, and to ensure all voices are heard in the American cultural narrative.
Thank you for your continued support and compassion!
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