“So Brooklyn” Activist Linda Sarsour Wants Borough to Secede — Also to Be Its Mayor


    Linda Sarsour — the Brooklyn-born Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York — has her sights set on a future City Council bid, borough presidency, and eventual Mayorship of an independent Brooklyn, according to a mostly gushing profile in this weekend’s New York Times.

    Sarsour has been involved with the city’s politics since joining the Arab American Association in 2001. In the years since, she’s fought the Police Department’s systematic spying on members of New York’s Muslim population, and worked on improving immigration policy, boosting voter registration, fighting Islamophobia and, most recently, advocating and organizing for the Black Lives Matter movement.

    In addition to enumerating Sarsour’s many accomplishments, the article reads like a love-letter to her Brooklyn bonafides. Below are Sarsour’s top seven Brooklyn credentials as featured by Times political writer Alan Feuer, in reverse order.


    A photo posted by Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:49pm PDT

      7. Linda Sarsour talks like a Brooklynite:

    “…the most apparent thing about her voice is that it is exceedingly Brooklyn. She says “swag” instead of “charisma.” (“Mr. B. has swag …”) She calls her father, a Palestinian immigrant in his 60s, “Pops.””

    6. She introduces herself like a Brooklynite. When Sarsour met with activists in Ferguson, Missouri to talk about the death of Michael Brown, she made an impression on ACLU organizer Mustafa Abdullah:

    “She came right up to me and said, ‘My name’s Linda. I’m from Brooklyn. Don’t mess with Brooklyn.’ That stuck with me.”

    5. She grew up in Sunset Park; her father’s Crown Heights corner store has the unique-to-Brooklyn name of “Linda Sarsour’s Spanish-American Food Center”; and now she lives with her husband and kids in Bay Ridge.

    4. She took classes at Brooklyn College and Kingsborough Community College before working as an organizer for the Brooklyn-based Arab American Association.

    3. She’s in with the Williamsburg hipster crowd. The Times followed her to a meeting of the New Kings Democrats at the Larry Lawrence where “the nerdy-cool crowd was tipsy” and “ninety percent of the men in the room wore glasses.”

    2. Even friends and colleagues admire Sarsour’s total Brooklyn-ness. Zead Ramadan, former board chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations defended her work before adding:

    “You are rarely going to meet someone who is so Brooklyn.”

    1. Perhaps the most Brooklyn thing about Linda Sarsour? Her dream of the borough’s secession:

    “Ms. Sarsour’s oft-stated ambition is to serve as the first mayor of an independent Brooklyn. This is a position, she said, that she would have to work toward by first becoming Brooklyn borough president and then accomplishing the tricky business of getting Kings County to secede from the rest of New York.”

    Brownstoner reached out to Sarsour to find out why she thinks an independent Brooklyn is a good idea and what she’d want to accomplish as Brooklyn’s mayor. We’ll update when we hear back.

    Linda Sarsour Is a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab [New York Times]
    Photo of Linda Sarsour from the Arab American Association of New York

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