3 Awesome Black Female Role Models
By Mariam Abdulla and Sarah Faysal
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action” -Mohammed SAWS
From our hobbies to our favorite movies,our looks and our personalities, each one of us is unique. Many times, however, we tend to focus on our similarities instead of cherishing our differences. The month of February is completely devoted to recognizing the inspiring black-Americans that have shaped history and shared their unique skill sets with the world.
Read on to learn more about 3 awesome female role models for Black History Month!
Although she receives some hate in the press, Ilhan Omar is a great representative of black Muslimahs in America. Born in Somalia, Ilhan and her family fled the country’s civil war when she was 8 years old and went on to live in a refugee camp in Kenya for 4 years. Following this, her family moved to the United States.
Her interest in politics sparked at age 14 when she became an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. She grew up watching her neighbors come together to advocate for change, which increased her love for the democratic process.
In high school, she became a political organizer and has been a coalition builder ever since. She was a community educator at the University of Minnesota and devoted her time to being a progressive activist in the DFL party for years. Prior to running for office, she served as a Humphrey Policy Fellow and a Senior Policy Aide for a Minneapolis City Council Member. She has been an advocate for important issues like aid for working families, education, environmental protection, and racial equity.
That’s why she’s in our list of the top 3 amazing black figures. Along with being the first Somali-American woman to ever be elected to the legislative office, she was also the first Somali-American to join the United States Congress. Way to go, Ilhan!
Why we love her:
Ilhan was the first Somali-American Muslim Legislator in the United States. She is an excellent example of someone who strives for greatness. Beginning as a refugee, Ilhan was dedicated and transformed her life into a journey of advocacy and progression. Ilhan proves that it doesn’t matter where you begin, courage and hard work get you where you want to be.
Next up we have Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad. Ibtihaj Muhammad began her journey in fencing at age 13 and is known today as the first Muslim-American woman to ever compete at the Olympics. As well as being a two-time Pan American Games gold winner, she’s a five-time Senior World Team Medalist, and was the 2014 Senior World Team Champion.
Additionally, she advocates for young Muslim Women to get involved in sports through the use of media and has worked with top companies to do so. Some of the things she’s known for include her fencing suit (of course!) and her modest clothing line, Louella.
Some of her other accomplishments include sponsorships that she took part in as a means of expanding minority inclusion in America. She partnered with Nike in their creation of the breathable Nike Pro Hijab which encouraged many hijabis to play sports without having to worry about what to wear.
Working with Covergirl, Ibtihaj has shown she is an advocate for mental health. In the company’s short film, “mirror monologue”, she talks about the importance of self confidence in her career as an Olympic fencer.
One of her most memorable experiences of dealing with hate is seen in her memoir “Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream”. She describes how racism influenced her childhood and fencing career, and she used her story as a way of teaching people the effects their words can have on others.
Why we love her:
Ibtihaj’s career as an Olympian began with her passion for fencing and her goal of being a role model for her community. Her platform as an Olympic fencer allows her to broaden minority representation in America and bring change towards issues that minorities face. She is not afraid to speak out about the effects of hate on the self esteem of young women. She teaches us that we should appreciate each other not only through our similarities, but also through our differences.
Most of us know Michelle Obama as the wife of former president Barack Obama, and former First Lady. She is much more than that, however. Having just released her autobiography, “Becoming Michelle Obama” in November of 2018, Michelle is building up a remarkable list of achievements!
Before becoming First Lady of the United States, she was a lawyer, Chicago City Administrator and community outreach worker. During her time as First Lady, she focused heavily on social issues relating to poverty, healthy living, and education. She also dedicated her attention to the support of military families, helping working women balance their career and family, and encouraging national service.
In 1991, she left corporate law and began working as an assistant to Mayor Richard Daley. Following that, she became the Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development of Chicago. Two years later, she became the Executive Director of a nonprofit leadership organization program called Chicago Office of Public Allies, dedicated to helping young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.
These were only the one of the first few steps in her career as an advocate for policy. Later during the Obama presidency, she advocated for more health and wellness causes. Additionally, she volunteered at homeless shelters and soup kitchens and visited public schools to speak out about the importance of education and volunteer work.
Why we love her:
Michelle Obama is strong, funny and smart. She is proud of where she has come from. She has shown strength in everything she did as First Lady, as well as the inspiration she continues to be for young women. Through her memoir “Becoming”, she describes her journey in finding her voice in hopes that it could be used to inspire the youth. The American dream is built off the idea that this nation allows the highest level of aspirations and goals to be achieved, which is what pushes her into becoming an advocate for change. Michelle Obama, overall, is known for being one who inspires young individuals in America to become whatever they aspire to be.
These are just a few examples of many amazing black female role models that we recognize during this special month. Jazak Allāhu Khairan for reading! Let us know some other black female role models you can look up to in the comments InShaAllah.