Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Nov 24 2020

Anti-Black Racism in the Arab Region: Historical Roots and Current Struggles

Nadwa (Public Conversation)

November 24, 2020

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Virtual via Zoom


Chicago, IL 60612

blue, brown, and white mediterranean tile design acts as a border with a blue background in the middle of it. Title of event is on top followed by the names of the speakers and moderator in black, light organce and white. Then the event time and RSVP link, followed at the bottom with the logos of organizations sponsoring the event

Join the Arab American Cultural Center and the Arab Organizing Resource Center for an important panel conversation on Anti-Black Racism in the Arab Region: Historical Roots and Current Manifestations

Featuring: Isma'il Kushkush, Afifa Ltifi, Elsadig Elsheikh, and Sara Musaifer

Moderated by: Zeina Zaatari

The recent uprisings against the violence of policing and the killings of our Black siblings in the US has sparked important conversations across the world about how anti-Blackness has manifested itself in many communities including communities of color and countries in the global south. These conversations include looking at identities and how they are formed, the ways in which popular culture perpetuates biases, and in some instances how anti-Black racism has structured our societies and relationships. They also include discussions on the long history of solidarity between Black liberation and Arab liberation movements. This panel hopes to shed light onto the history of anti-Black racism in the Arab region to help us understand these trajectories and how they have interacted with economic interests, colonization practices, sociological theorizing, and political power. It also sheds light on the current struggles against racism in the region and the ways people have been resisting and narrating their stories. The current political moment demonstrates the rise of white nationalism as it draws on the structures of white supremacy. These structures do not only frame the world of the US, but also its imperial and colonial practices and strategies. Our communities need to come together not from a place of shared victimhood and fear, but from a place of full understanding of the ways we have contributed and may currently contribute to these systems and an investment in working through to create an alternative more just society. We will only be able to organize and defend communities against racism, right-wing violence, policing, militarism and repression if we work together with a shared vision of where we’ve come and where we are going.

Once you RSVP you will receive a zoom link.

Event will be Live captioned

For questions or accessibility needs, email us at:

Notes on our Speakers:

Isma'il Kushkush is a Sudanese American journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, CNN, the Associated Press (AP), Reuters, Guernica Magazine, Quartz Africa, Voice of America and Al Jazeera English. He was based in Khartoum, Sudan, for eight years, and for two three-month periods in 2014 and again in 2015, he was acting bureau chief for The New York Times in East Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has covered political, economic, social and cultural stories from Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Sweden, Israel the Palestinian territories and the United States.  He received a bachelors of arts degree in history and international relations from the University of California, Davis, with a focus on Africa and the Middle East and a master of arts degree in journalism from Columbia Journalism School in New York with a focus on politics and global affairs. He was a Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation Fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; an Ida B. Wells Fellowship recipient with Type Investigations; a Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting grant recipient; a Kathryn Davis Fellows for Peace recipient; an ICFJ-UN Foundation fellow and an Overseas Press Club Foundation Scholar Award recipient.

Afifa Ltifi is a Tunisian PhD candidate at Cornell University’s Africana Studies Department. Her work deals with the implications of trans-saharan slavery and colonialism on North African conceptualizations of Blackness and race and the many ways in which they inform the multilayered historical processes of Black Tunisians/Maghrebi identity formation. Through an interdisciplinary approach, her project examines the micro- histories of black North Africans, their representations in cultural production and the complex processes of their racial formation within the “African” milieu. She is also co-founder of the Voice of Tunisian Black Women collective and the first ever Black rights organization in Tunisia, Adam for Equality and Development. In addition to her academic research, she is an occasional writer for various media outlets such as Manshoor, Urban Africa, 7iber, OpenDemocracy, and feminist consciousness. She also worked as a fixer in the Ghost Boat open investigation project, tracking the disappearance of 243 refugees from Somalia and Eritrea in the Mediterranean. Ghost Boat was ranked as a finalist for the 2016 National Magazine award in the reporting category and 2016 Kurt Schork Memorial Award.

Elsadig Elsheikh is the Director of the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute, where he oversees the program’s projects on corporate power, food systems, forced migration, inclusiveness index, Islamophobia, and human rights mechanisms; and manages the Shahidi Project, and the Nile Project. Elsadig's research interests focus on the themes and socio-political dynamics related to state and citizenship; race and corporate power; and measuring social policies of exclusion and inclusion. Elsadig authored and co-authored a number of articles, essays, and reports on corporate power and the food system, Islamophobia, forced migration, inclusiveness index, Trans-Pacific Partnership, UN human rights mechanisms, and Sudanese politics. Prior to the Othering & Belonging Institute, Elsadig led the international program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, where he also served as an associate editor of the Institute’s journal, Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. Earlier, Elsadig was a researcher with the European Economic Community, Amnesty International, Witness for Peace, and various international grassroots and advocacy organizations on issues related to internal displaced persons, Indigenous peoples, human rights, immigration, social mobilization, and environmental and social justice in Sudan, Greece, Colombia, and the United States. Elsadig holds degrees and trainings from Panteion University/Athens, Greece, the Ohio State University/Ohio, SIT Graduate Institute/Vermont, and Columbia University/New York.

Sara Musaifer is a PhD candidate in the University of Minnesota’s Comparative and International Development Education Program and a Pre-doctoral Fellow for Excellence through Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing on critical education studies, political sociology, and transnational feminist critique, her dissertation scrutinizes competing pedagogies of belongingness in Bahrain’s schools. Focusing on K-12 education in Bahrain, Sara’s research crosses multiple borders to bring into question the intertwining histories and structural conditions producing a particular knowledge about the desired girl citizen-subject. Through girls’ enactments of political agency and imaginations of success, Sara also traces how they creatively engage with this knowledge and move past its rationales and scripts. She is also interested in critical race theory, Black feminist thought, creative writing, and storytelling. In her other life, Sara is a teacher, writer, storyteller, and community-organizer.​​ She is a co-founder and co-editor of AGITATE! Journal, and a board member of Language Attitude.



Arab American Cultural Center

Date posted

Nov 9, 2020

Date updated

Dec 15, 2020