About Salaam

Steve Slocum, peacemaking, hate crimes, interfaith dialongSalaam is a non-religious, non-partisan nonprofit founded by award-winning author, Steve Slocum in 2019. His book — Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World — was foundational to Salaam’s early focus of bringing non-Muslims and Muslims together.

Early in 2020, with Salaam’s in-person event schedule in full swing, the COVID lockdown forced a complete shutdown. In Slocum’s words:

“I was holed up in my temporary living quarters trying to figure out what to do next. Should I wait this out? Should I utilize a video platform for our cross-cultural meeting series? At the same time wondering if I or one of my loved ones would get COVID and die. The only thing that seemed to make sense was to write. I began journaling and blogging as a mechanism for coping with my fears and with the unknown.

On May 25, 2020, my writing and social media posting were interrupted by disturbing imagery that seemed to be going viral. It seemed that another black man had been murdered by the police in the city of Minneapolis. At one point a chilling video emerged. One of the bystanders had pulled out their cell phone and captured a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, hands in pockets staring coldly and directly into the cameras that were filming him as he calmly choked the life out of George Floyd.

Along with much of white America, I would never be the same. In a moment, I suddenly realized that the decades of Black history I had barely paid attention to (because slavery had ended, after all), were critically important.With time on my hands, I read the books, attended the webinars, followed black voices on social media, and started to absorb a version of history that was as mind blowing for me as it was real.

It wasn’t long before my appetite for this alternate version of history dovetailed into Native American history. My mind was expanding, and it was snowballing. I realized that this issue non-Muslim Americans had with Muslims was only one facet of white American racism, something Dr Todd Green, author of The Fear of Islam, has been saying for a long time.”

As a result, Salaam pivoted. We expanded our mission to address the root cause of white American racism in our postcolonial white culture. At the same time we decided to focus our efforts on our local region – the Kumeyaay – Tijuana – San Diego borderland region.

Our top priority is to build an organization, from the ground up that is representative of the wonderful diversity of this region. As such, we are actively recruiting Black, Indigenous, and other people of color for our Board of Directors. We are not recruiting these leaders as tokens but as those who will play important roles in guiding Salaam in our transformative work. Please reach out to us via email if you or someone you know might be interested.

We strive for peace.

Salaam means peace. And achieving peace has always been our goal. However, we realize that not all in the San Diego – Kumeyaay – Tijuana borderland are able to live peaceful lives, because of racist systems, dehumanization, and various injustices. Consider joining us or simply reach out to us with a message or question.

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