Bay Ridge

Politico names Sarsour to top 50 list

September 11, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Linda Sarsour has seen her political star rise since the election of Donald Trump. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Linda Sarsour, a Bay Ridge political firebrand who shot to nationwide fame after organizing the historic Women’s March on Washington in January, has been named one of the top 50 political trendsetters in the country by Politico, the influential, must-read website covering Washington, D.C.

Sarsour is Number 46 on Politico’s “Politico 50” list, a roster that comes out every year. This year’s list includes such luminaries as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, former top Trump administration advisor Steve Bannon and actress Melissa McCarthy.

“The ideas blowing up American politics and the people behind them,” reads the subhead of the “Politico 50” section of Politico.

The website, which is widely read in all of the corridors of power in Washington, cites Sarsour’s outspoken activism against President Donald Trump, as well as her role in organizing the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on the day after Trump was inaugurated and drew an estimated 500,000 participants.

“For Sarsour, Trump’s election came after years of standing up for people he had maligned — not just women, but Muslims, immigrants and black Americans, too. Her ties with activists from around the country helped her galvanize different groups during the disorienting period following the election, including a wide range of people who decided that the Women’s March was their big chance to be heard,” Politico’s Taylor Gee wrote.

Politico also took note of the controversy that continually surrounds Sarsour.

“But the unyielding positions Sarsour took, and the friction they engendered, were also emblematic of a movement that has struggled to strike a balance between big-tent politics and the purity of its platform. As liberals grapple with how to counter Trump and who should join in that fight, Sarsour’s no-compromises approach has certainly been controversial. But for those who see Trump as an extremist president, her radicalism might seem a suitable match,” Gee reported.

Sarsour is the former executive director of the Bay Ridge-based Arab American Association of New York. Sarsour, who served at the helm of the association for 11 years, resigned from her post earlier this year to concentrate on political organizing around the country.

“The Women’s March on Washington exceeded our expectations. It will go down as one of the largest protests in U.S. history. We proved that when women lead we can bring millions together across the country and we can create a movement that everyone sees themselves in,” Sarsour told the Brooklyn Eagle shortly after the march.

Founded by a group of Arab-American civic leaders in Bay Ridge, the association opened its doors in December 2001. The organization, headquartered at 7111 Fifth Ave., seeks to serve as a bridge between the Arab community and the New York City community, according to its website.

“We are in a critical moment as a country and I feel compelled to focus my energy on the national level and building the capacity of the progressive movement so it is with a heavy heart that I announce that I will be leaving my post as the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York,” Sarsour wrote in a letter to the community at the time of her resignation.

“I will continue to raise my voice to push policies that protect and uplift the most marginalized communities. The fight is in me and I am feeling bolder and braver than ever,” Sarsour added.