​​​Hate violence toward Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities markedly increased after September 11, 2001. Nearly 15 years later, those identified as or perceived to be Arab or Muslim continue to experience prejudice and hostility.

In 2012, a series of hate ads—protected as First Amendment speech—were sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative and placed on regional public transportation. Those ads prompted a community-based participatory research project to explore the experiences of those coping with Islamophobia and anti-Arab prejudice.

With direction from San José State Professor Edward Mamary, community participants took photographs representing their everyday experiences of Islamophobia and anti-Arab prejudice. These images served as a basis for discussions about responding to prejudice and discrimination with resilience, cultural pride, and self-determination. The project made its debut on April 2, 2015.

"At the conclusion of the project, the community was proud of how it demonstrated not only the heart-wrenching pain caused by these ads but also the amazing strength of the community to rise to the challenge of supporting one another," notes Theresa Sparks, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Partners included the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Asian Law Caucus, Arab Cultural and Community Center, Islamic Networks Group, Sikh Coalition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. The project was funded by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.