2018 DREL FELLOWS!
We are pleased to announce our 2018 - 2019 Cohort of Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders (DREL) Fellows! The competition for this inaugural year of the fellowship was particularly rigorous, as our class of 16 was selected from 70+ well-qualified applicants. We were impressed by the level of insight, critical thinking and passion evident in the submissions we received. Those selected for this year's program were chosen based on a thorough review of their leadership potential, capacity for personal growth and critical self-reflection and demonstrated commitment to engaging in a collaborative, justice oriented process of community engagement.
The DREL Fellowship is a year long program which centers the challenges, strengths and well-being of Black Muslim Emerging adults (18-25 years old) and is grounded in the belief that building power and sustainable grassroots movements cannot occur without healing and introspection.
MEET OUR AMAZING DREL STAFF, FELLOWS & FACILITATORS!
Founder, Muslim Wellness Foundation | Director, The Deeply Rooted Project
DREL Program Coordinator & Law Student, Harvard University
Professor of Law, Rutgers University
Assistant Professor, Policy, Organizational and Leadership Studies, Temple University
Certified Sexual Health Educator
PhD Candidate, Anthropology, Rutgers University
Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies, Rutgers University
co-Founder, Perennial Consulting Company; certified Yoga instructor
Imam, Islamic Center of Greater Princeton
Racial Justice and Human Rights Activist and Advocacy Specialist
Poet & Artist
2018 FELLOWS - MEET THESE AMAZING YOUNG LaEADERS FROM ACROSS THE US!
(hover each picture to read the Fellow's bio)
Danya AbdelHameid is a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she studied physics and geology. She is very interested in thinking about nature, environmental justice, science, and how these topics interact with faith, spirituality, race, gender, and other elements of our unique social and cultural experiences. Danya has also participated in almost four years of undergraduate science research while at William and Mary and is keenly interested in communicating science, particularly in spaces and with communities that have traditionally been excluded from science.
Salahudeen Ali was born and raised in the West End community in Atlanta GA. He spent most of his early life under the tutelage of Imam Jamil Al-Amin. It was during these times that Salahudeen’s passion for social justice was first sparked. This led him to later pursue an education and career in law and politics, but after an extended trip to Benin Salahudeen’s plans would change. During his time in West Africa he began to work in an orphanage and with various youth groups throughout the region, and in doing so finding an unexpected new path. Upon his return to the US in 2013 Salahudeen has continued his work in youth development both here and abroad by becoming apart of various organizations from Coca-Cola’s C5 Youth Program to working with Iraqi students with World Learning. Most recently Salahudeen has been working for the City of Decatur, an Atlanta suburb, helping to design curriculum for their afterschool programs. Salahudeen hopes to further his work with youth engagement and continue to provide guidance and direction to the next generation.
Nena Beecham is a photographer, writer, and poet based in Washington, D.C. She graduated with a B.S. in Culture and Politics from Georgetown University, where she currently works. Prior to arriving in D.C., Nena lived in Texas, where she competed in the University Interscholastic League’s journalism tournament. During her time at Georgetown, Nena furthered her interest in journalism by working as a photographer with The Hoya and producing multimedia footage for The Bridge Initiative, a research project on Islamophobia. Her other interests are traveling, international relations, history, and studying foreign languages, which includes Spanish, French, and Arabic. In the future, Nena would like to publish her own historical fiction novel and create a platform for Muslim creatives to network and publish their art. She is passionate about storytelling, and would like to amplify the voices of those misrepresented in the media and the arts.
Amena Elamin is a senior at Wichita State University studying Psychology. Sudanese by way of Brooklyn, she was raised in the heart of the Midwest and through frequent trips back to Khartoum. She thinks often about the concept of home, which has motivated her to honor the stories and nuances of identity through her artwork and public speaking. Her experiences with representation (or lack thereof) fuel her passion for today's youth as she hopes to be the mentor her younger self never had. She also believes in giving back to the community that raised her and does so by working with organizations like Girls on the Run, the Boys and Girls Club of Southcentral Kansas, and the Islamic Society of Wichita. On campus, she's held leadership positions as the Vice President and President of Muslim Student Association. She now serves as the Youth Development Coordinator through AmeriCorps at the International Rescue Committee of Wichita. She hopes to continue her work in youth services and advocacy at a local, national, and international level.
Yacine Fall is POSSE scholar at Smith college studying biochemistry and African Studies. She was raised in Harlem and takes pride in its fusion with her Senegalese roots. Since she stepped foot onto her college campus, she has not stopped pushing and challenging Smith to expand its diversity and inclusion initiatives to create a space welcoming for all. In her first year of college, she was elected president of her class, she published an article at about being Muslim at Smith, and was a co-leader for the affinity housing coalition. This year she was appointed to a Residential Experience working group by the Dean of the College, is a BridgeUp Scholar and does cancer research in a biomedical engineering lab. She has a fascination with diseases and hopes to one day create a vaccine for a disease that plagues third world countries. She wants to see a world where everyone can live a good life regardless of race, class, or creed.
Sirad Hassan is a pre-Med student at Princeton University concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs with minors in Cognitive Science, African American Studies, and Global Health and Health Policy. She is a proud native of Frederick, Maryland and even prouder daughter of her Somali parents. Her job on campus is working as a research assistant in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, where she is currently designing her own independent project examining how depression and post-traumatic stress disorder affect reinforcement learning and decision making. Outside of her academic work, she is heavily involved with Muslim life on campus as the current Princeton Muslim Student Association President and co-founded the "Halal Memes for Jannah Minded Teens" Facebook group. Her interests are intertwined with working towards understanding and destigmatizing mental health; last fall, she co-lead and organized a Breakout Trip to Boston, MA to examine barriers to mental health care access. After her time at Princeton, she hopes to attend medical school while pursuing a joint-degree program in public health or law.
Anwar Hussein is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Minor in clinical psychology and individual differences in May 2018. He is a proud Somali-American born in Alexandria, Virginia and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Throughout his undergraduate career, he has been heavily involved within his community and campus, volunteering his time to work as a suicide prevention hotline worker as well as being engaged in numerous organizations, including being a research intern for The Family and Youth Institute. Anwar is currently applying to doctoral programs to pursue his PhD in either clinical or counseling psychology where he hopes to achieve his goal of making therapeutic approaches more culturally sensitive for immigrants, Muslims, and particularly Black Muslims.
Muktaru Jalloh is a 2nd year High school English teacher in his hometown of Arlington, Virginia. At 24, Muktaru uses his love for words, mentorship and Hip-hop music to make a positive impact on his students and enjoys learning from them in the process. With his career ahead of him, Muktaru has aspirations of being a college professor, author and Hip-hop content creator.
Mohamud Mohamed is a Somali-American born and Raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a Senior studying Clinical Psychology and History at Augsburg University. He currently serves as the Youth Director of Masjid Abu Bakr As-Siddique, the largest mosque in the metro area. In the past he has worked as a research fellow with the University of Michigan, working on their Refugee Mental Health and Well Being Project and as a visiting researcher with the Rabat Archeological Museum as a manuscripts and preservation specialist. As writer for the Huffington Post and other publications he has written on the intersection Islam and Blackness, and in his downtime he is a translator of classical Islamic texts. His research is primarily focused on Hadith transmission and analysis. He serves as the resident Khateeb of Augsburg's Muslim Student Association, as a Qur'an teacher and a member of the Young Muslim Collective (YMC MN).
Magan Omar is from Greeley, CO and currently a software engineer in New York City. He is passionate about how computer science can bring positive change in the world, and bringing CS education and opportunities to underrepresented communities. In 2016, he received his Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Northwestern University, and was involved in a number of student groups there, including National Society of Black Engineers and Muslim-cultural Students Association. In his time in NYC, he volunteered with local Muslim communities, the Department of Education, and recently with voter registration polls for the midterm elections. He loves playing and watching sports, shooting photography, meeting new people, and spending time with family and friends.
Khalafalla Osman is a first-year law student at Northeastern University’s School of Law. Being born and raised in Albany, NY – a lot of his story lies there. Between law school and undergraduate college, he taught Islamic Studies for a year and another working as a legal and administrative assistant. During his undergrad years at SUNY’s University at Albany, he served his Muslim Students Association as president for two terms. Throughout these terms, he strived to make his local university an even more inclusive space for Muslim students. Organizing conferences, coordinating and collaborating with various community organizations – Khalafalla is committed to intersectionality – the building of bridges and solidarity amongst communities. For that reason, he was recently nominated and awarded with the Ed Bloch Youth Interfaith Award. Through law school, he hopes to be a major asset for marginalized communities in the United States as their advocate and attorney.
Nadirah Pierre is a 22 year old undergraduate student at Montclair State University studying Psychology and African American Studies. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree and eventually a PhD in Clinical Psychology after finishing her undergrad in order to pursue a career as a Prison Psychologist. She also has plans of establishing healing centers and creating a healthy dialogue in an effort to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in the black and islamic communities. Using her spare time, Nadirah starts critical and somewhat uncomfortable dialogue on her social media platforms (and if need be in social settings) in an effort to inspire change in our communities. Topics stemming from the woes that come with the intersectionality of being a young, black, muslim women in America all the way to the troubles of a broken judicial system. Fearlessly and with the use of her wit and satire she says what nobody else will and crosses barriers nobody else dares to.
Muhamed Samateh is a first generation American with Gambian roots hailing from Silver Spring, Maryland. No stranger to work in the Muslim community, he has served as President of the Morehouse College Muslim Student Association & Georgia Muslim Students council. His undergrad experience allowed him to hone his leadership skills and gain the confidence needed to make him successful in his endeavors. Muhamed has also done interfaith work as an IFYC fellow and member of the World Pilgrim interfaith initiative. His unique background and cultural experiences have given him a wide variety of experiences. These experiences have made him passionate about giving Black Muslim issues the attention they deserve through curating safe spaces & events. He currently serves as a board member for the Gambian American association which allows him to work with first generation Gambian youth in the metro Washington D.C. area.
Kenya Shakir was born and raised in Fort Bragg/Fayetteville, NC. Her father is an immigrant from Jamaica, and her mother was born in Detroit and raised in Alabama. From a young age, Kenya has valued justice, fairness, human rights and dignity. Kenya received a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from East Carolina University and a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration from Grand Valley State University. She is the founder of Kenya Shakir LLC, through which she offers speaking engagements, presentations, and trainings on social justice topics to educate, empower, and inspire. Kenya is dedicated to breaking down systemic inequities on an institutional level. As a millennial Black Muslim Woman and intersectional feminist, Kenya is interested in the unique lived experiences of others that share these identities, and in highlighting their achievements and contributions to society.
Kenya enjoys reading, traveling, acting in theatrical productions, and spending time with her friends, family, and sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She works at an arts education based non-profit entity in New York, NY.
Faduma Warsame is a poet, youth organizer, and perpetual student of knowledge currently based in Dallas but originally from Minneapolis. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she studied English with a focus on teaching English as a Second language. Currently she is a second year aalamiyah student at the Qalam Seminary in Dallas, Texas studying Islamic theology and thought in a modern context. She is a member of the Young Muslim Collective, a grass root student-led community organization that focuses on justice, mentorship, and education. She is also a Research Administrator for Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. In her free time, she likes to read, write, teach, spend time with family, and organize for social change.
BLACK MUSLIM YOUTH RISING - INTENSIVE LEADERSHIP RETREAT
Pendle Hill Retreat Center | 338 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086
November 30, 2018 - December 2, 2018
This unique intensive leadership retreat: Black Muslim Youth Rising is one component of the Fellowship and will center the developmental needs of millennials through experiential learning and team building exercises designed to create a space and consciousness from which to question, and deconstruct, internalized voicelessness, devaluation and trauma. On the first day of the retreat, attendees will participate in group activities designed to establishing trust, cohesion and healthy group dynamics. It will also focus on guided discussions on the psychological impact of oppression, trauma of racism, Islamophobia. The second day of the retreat will focus on emotionally intelligent leadership, including self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, networking and relationship building; consciousness of context, self and of others. The final day of the retreat will seek to integrate each fellows understanding of self and leadership capacity with strategies for community engagement and advocacy.
• Cycle of Socialization & Cycle of Liberation
• Stress & Struggle - Managing Vicarious Trauma
• Compassion Fatigue & Self-Care
• Hurting Leaders’ - Resolving Interpersonal & Historical Trauma
• Race-related Trauma Wounds and Traumatic Stress
• Internalized Devaluation, Voicelessness, Assault of self
• Emotional Intelligence & Self-Awareness
• Role of Spirituality in Leadership Development
• Healing Justice and Community Engagement/Organizing
• Social Change Model of Leadership
We are excited to welcome our Fellows to this beautiful retreat center located on 24 acres, with walking trails, library and art studio and wholesome meals made from fruits and vegetables grown in the garden. We are looking forward to a weekend of learning and growth!