10 Arab American Female Activists
By: Noor Almohsin/ Arab America Contributing Writer
In modern civil societies, activism is a basic activity for influence, change, and freedom of expression. Arab American women have proven their role advocating for causes they believed in, encounter or simply support. This article sheds light on 10 female Arab American practiced their right to advocate and bring change into their communities.
Aber Kawas is a Palestinian-American young activist. Being in the leadership of Arab American Association of New York, she works on enhancing the lives of immigrants and their children in New York. She advocates for social justice for diverse religious and ethnic groups especially issues related to immigration, police surveillance, and racial profiling. She is a grassroots organizer focusing her studies on the Middle East and Latin America.
Jamila Hammam is a Tunisian American who advocates against anti-Muslim campaigns in the US. She actively protested against Trump’s Muslim travel ban in NYC, and she was thrown out and security guard treated her badly. Jamila is the founder of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project that aims to help people of immigration detentions. It also works with LGBTQIA immigrant prisoners and their families. Her advocacy helped transgender detainees receive medical services while in prison.
As a Palestinian American reporter, Dena Takruri worked internationally on reporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the refugee crisis in Europe. She also shed light on domestic issues such as Flint’s water crisis, the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, Trump rallies, and Black Lives Matter movement. With AJ+ Dena transparently addressed different issues related to Arab and Muslim Americans and her videos go viral on social media. In 2017, she received The Rose Nader award at ADC national convention.
Mona Haydar is a Syrian-American artist from Flint, MI. She is a poet, rapper, lecturer and an activist. She released her first rap song “Hijabi” calling against racism and colorism. Her second video “Dog” was about violence against women, and how men position themselves superior. Her videos went viral and had over million views Mona and her Husband also sat up a stand-in Cambridge, Massachusetts called “Ask a Muslim” offering coffee and donuts to encourage open and friendly dialogue.
When speaking about Arab American women and activists, Linda Sarsour leads the talk. The Palestinian-American woman successful advocacy lead to end the NYPD secretive program for spying on Muslim American citizens that was initiated after 9/11. Linda was also able to have New York Public Schools recognize Muslim Holidays. Sarsour was the star behind the women march that echoed internationally.
Over 30 years ago Candy “Candace” Lightner established MADD “Mothers Against Drunk Drivers” after a drunk driver killed her daughter Cari. MADD helps victims of DUI and provides resources for alcohol safety, its goal is to reduce the victims of such incidents. Later she started We Saves Lives advocating for highway safety matters including drugged, drunk and distracted drivers. She also was the president of ADC between 1994 and1995.
Sandra Khalifa is a young graphic designer who advocates for Dream Defenders. As an Egyptian American, she witnessed implicit racism and isolation growing up in a non-diverse neighborhood. Therefore, Sandra focuses her advocacy on the Dream Act and immigration reform. She does graphic designs for racial justice on social media and had exhibitions for her artwork for Dream Defenders.
lhan Omar is the first elected Somali-American in public office as Minnesota House Representative for District 60B. lhan advocates for civil and political rights of women from Eastern Africa. She also advocates for human rights, poverty alleviation, and free tuition for students of families with income below $125,000. Ilhan works at Women Organizing Women, which is an organization that empowers and engage women as leaders in their communities.
Wiaam Yasin is a young Arab American activist who aspires social justice in American local communities. As a Muslim and Sudanese American she advocates for social change regards minorities’ rights, racial equality, breaking stereotypes, and immigration reforms. She joined organizations that support college student activists and journalists address different issues. Wiaam is concerned about minorities and racial discrimination in the U.S.
Zena Ozeir is passionate about racial and gender justice. She is a member of Z Collective, which is an Arab and Muslim feminist group that advocates for gender equality in Arab American communities. Zena, who is Lebanese American is a Palestine solidarity activist, she also advocates for LGBTQ empowerment and Anti Blackness within Arab communities. She is currently a Law student at Hastings College of the Law.