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Grasping at the Root: White Supremacy and the so-called “War on Terror”

The Institute for Policy Studies, Haymarket Books, and the Center for Constitutional Rights present “Grasping at the Root: White Supremacy and the so-called “War on Terror”, the second event of a 4-part series marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The conversation with scholars, lawyers and journalists is an invitation to reflect and interrogate the pillars of white supremacy upon which the U.S. constructed the last twenty years of policy. The post-9/11 human rights crisis is but the latest chapter in over half a millennium of colonialism, capitalism and war. Only in situating today’s injustices within a history of U.S. domination, exceptionalism and impunity, can we begin to chart a new future rooted in accountability, solidarity and interdependence.

To mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Haymarket Books and our partners are pleased to present a 4-part series, "Just Resistance: 20 years of global struggle against the post-9/11 human rights crisis." The series is an opportunity to bring together our colleagues and comrades from impacted communities across the world, to center stories of survival, and to contextualize the last two decades of U.S. policy within a history of imperialism, domination and impunity. Over the course of the series, we will also invite audiences to imagine the next twenty years of demilitarization and decolonization.



Nana Gyamfi is the Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the largest Black-led social justice organization representing the nearly 10 million Black immigrants, refugees, and families living in the U.S. A Movement attorney for the past 25 years, Nana is co-founder of Justice Warriors 4 Black Lives and Human Rights Advocacy, both dedicated to fighting for human rights and Black liberation. She is the current President of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and a member of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table. Nana is a former professor in the Pan African Studies Department at California State University Los Angeles, and has long been a sought after voice for legal and political insight into issues affecting Black communities. She has appeared in documentaries and other media, including Tales of the Grim Sleeper and Democracy Now! With Amy Goodman.

Tiara R. Na'puti is a Chamoru scholar (Guåhan/Guam) who focuses on issues of Indigenous movements, colonialism, and militarism in the Mariana Islands archipelago. She is currently a 2021 Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellow working with Independent Guåhan a community organization educating the island’s public about sovereignty and addressing climate change as an urgent challenge brought about by the island’s colonial political status. She has joined several delegations to testify at the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee (4th Committee) on the political status of Guåhan. Her work has appeared in outlets such as CommonDreamsIn These Times, and Latinx Spaces, and she was interviewed on RT News about the impacts of militarism and the colonial status of Guåhan. She is also a new faculty member in the Department of Global & International Studies at University of California Irvine.

Dr. Maha Hilal is a researcher and writer on institutionalized Islamophobia and author of the forthcoming book Innocent Until Proven Muslim: Islamophobia, the War on Terror, and the Muslim Experience Since 9/11. Her writings have appeared in Vox, Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, Newsweek, Business Insider, and Truthout, She is also Co-Director of Justice for Muslims Collective where she focuses on political consciousness and narrative shifting programming. Dr. Hilal earned her doctorate in May 2014 from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. The title of her dissertation is “Too damn Muslim to be trusted: The War on Terror and the Muslim American response."

Mariam Barghouti is a Palestinian writer and researcher based in Ramallah. She earned a BA in English Language and Literature from Birzeit University, and an MSc in Sociology and Global Change from the University of Edinburgh. She worked as a journalist and reporter with a focus on the Levant, and published various sociopolitical commentaries from Palestine. Her reporting and analysis have been featured in Al-Jazeera English, the New York Times, the Guardian, Washington Post, BBC, and Middle East Eye. She has also undertaken monitoring and evaluation missions of humanitarian and development aid in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon for various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Barghouti is also a policy member with the Palestinian think tank, Al-Shabaka, and provides consulting on context analysis and risk mitigation, advocacy, and creative direction. She is also a lecturer of Sociology.


Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he researches and discusses the War on Terror, the militarization of borders, and the Palestinian freedom struggle. Khury is a student of Black internationalism, researches US militarization and resistance in the Pacific, and builds solidarity against US empire.


This event is sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Haymarket Books.