Vigilant Love actively counters Islamophobic policies that support the Mosque-to-Prison Pipeline. Our policy advocacy is strategized in partnership with a strong coalition of Los Angeles-based organizations. The primary policy Vigilant Love advocates against in Los Angeles is Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).
Vigilant Love is also part of "First for Women" - a coalition of organizations working on "Religious Headwear: First Amendment Rights in Custody," a campaign in partnership with the Women's Policy Institute.
Vigilant Love develops strategy that considers the targets, the demands, the risks, the safety of protesters, the collective energy, and the tactical optics - how we amplify the message our people power. Our largest action was the coordination of a nonviolent sit-in and rally at LAX when the first “Muslim Ban” went into effect January 2017. In addition to ensuring the safety of protesters with organized safety teams, Vigilant Love coordinated calls to Customs and Border Protection and a massive sit-in that concluded in an unapologetic healing group prayer at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
The Solidarity Arts Fellowship builds upon a decade-long commitment of Muslim Americans and Japanese Americans building a new culture of solidarity and resistance together - now needed more than ever.
This program originates from Bridging Communities (BC), which started in 2007 as a proactive partnership between Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in the long aftermath of 9/11. Originally a high school program, Bridging Communities was the first youth program of its kind to draw connections between the history of Japanese Americans post Pearl Harbor and the similar, yet distinct, experiences of Muslim Americans today.
Multigenerational leadership of BC has now evolved the program into a Solidarity Arts Fellowship for college students to experience creative organizing and radical relationship building. This fellowship is committed to empowering emerging leaders with a foundation of solidarity to resist Islamophobia and to support the fellows in their community work beyond the program.
The six month fellowship provides rare experiences of deepening understanding, awareness and greater solidarity amongst our communities through leadership development, arts-based organizing, and field trips. These field trips include transformative and immersive experiences into community, including visits to the Manzanar Historic Incarceration Site, a SoCal masjid/mosque, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Aratani Theatre for a special viewing of PULLproject Ensemble’s theatre piece called “Tales of Clamor”, and much more.
Fellows gain access to facilitation, training, and mentorship from long-time/experienced leaders and artists from the Muslim and Japanese American communities.
“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.”
— Yuri Kochiyama, incarcerated in Jerome, Arkansas during WWII
Applications are now open for the six-month fellowship, running from January - June 2019! Apply by December 14th, 2018.
Vigilant Love leads base-building workshops throughout Los Angeles, Southern California and other parts of the country looking to build solidarity. We offer 2-hour creative organizing workshops and day-long trainings for 5-6 hours with community-based and civil rights organizations, college campuses, foundations, unions, allies in various industries and beyond.
-Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Understanding and Resisting Islamophobic Policies
-Solidarity By Any Means Necessary: Stories and Strategies of Japanese American and Muslim American Resistance
-Cultivating Unity and Resistance: A Workshop for Mind, Body and Action
-Building Capacity for Solidarity: Direct Action, Safety and Healing Justice Training.
Racialized and gendered Islamophobia creates a hostile environment where Muslim American, Sikh, South Asian, Black and Arab American communities are harassed, targeted and abused. After the attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001, over 300 Japanese Americans gathered in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles to mourn all victims and resist Islamophobic racism. Vigilant Love carries on this tradition of creating community safety and resistance in times of crisis by organizing solidarity vigils of nearly 400 diverse community members after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, and over 1000 Angelenos in the wake of the Muslim Ban.
As a collective of politicized artists and organizers, Vigilant Love integrates storytelling and poetry at all of our vigils, and activates audiences with performances, such as “Instructions” - a rewrite of the Civilian Exclusion Order in the wake of Executive Order 9066 at the 2017 Manzanar pilgrimage, the Japanese American National Museum, #NoMuslimBanEver March, and several other venues throughout Los Angeles.