Dear Council, My name is Usama Alshaibi. I am a professor at CU Boulder and a local filmmaker. I’ve been featured on Boulder Community Radio and Colorado Public Radio. I make films that deal with racism and bigotry against Arab Americans. My family is from Palestine and Iraq, and we have been living in Boulder for over 25 years. In my time in Boulder, I have noticed a hostility to any gesture towards humanizing our community and building bridges with Palestine. There have also been well-funded organizations that have tried to depict our community as the ‘other’. I want you to vote yes for the sister city as a gesture of humanity and inclusion. The Arab community in Boulder has felt excluded for years. Arab Americans are part of the fabric of America. We have been here since the formation of the United States. My sibling is a counselor at the local high school and we have friends that run business in and around Boulder for the past 40 years. The discrimination and bigotry we faced at the last council meeting was ugly and tried to vilify us. Make us proud to be residents of this great city. We are your doctors, your teachers, your neighbors and your friends. Please show the Arab community that you believe in building bridges and supporting community. Let us not fall into the dark tone with the wave of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate speech. Let us not repeat what we did to the Japanese Americans by treating them like second class citizens. So many Arabs and Muslims in Boulder feel like they are being excluded in this community. Show them the open arms of Boulder and be inclusive by saying YES to Nablus as our 8th sister city. Diversity is the heart of America and by saying Yes to the sister city you are showing us that there is a place for us in Boulder. Thank you for your time.
directed the acclaimed film American Arab
, which was recently shown on PBS and is available for streaming