1. What is your name?
2. What school do you attend?
Clara Barton High School
3. What neighborhood do you reside in?
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
4. What are some kinds of activities you’re involved in?
*Takes deep breath* Okay, here I go now:
I am a translator at my local Arabic school, Al Huda Islamic School. I was a part of ICNA relief program to help Hurricane Sandy victims recover from the tragedy. I am a part of a volunteering club in my school called Changemakers, where I aid in various aspects of health-related events, such as the Autism Walk and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk. I tutor elementary school students on a wide range of subjects like English and Math.
I recently completed the HPREP (Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program) at SUNY Downstate Hospital. I attend Sociology College Now classes at City Tech where I learn about various topics including the theoretical frameworks, social stratification, the role of the different genders, racial inequity, and human origin and development. This summer I will be part of Girls Who Code, where I will learn about the fast-paced tech industry and the basics of computer programming.
5. What encouraged you to become politically engaged?
I realized that I am heavily affected by what’s currently happening in the political world. Considering the fact that I am a minority, being an Afro-Arab Muslim female, I feel as though I am a deviant in today’s society. I have noticed that young adults have been muted when it comes to voicing their political opinions.
6. What are some of your thoughts of why it’s important for young people to become involved in the dialogue regarding New York City’s 2013 mayoral election?
It is vital for young people not only to be a part of, but to be exposed to rights they don’t realize they have. Today there are so many issues that the mayor can have a great influence on. The future mayor can have a great impact on various problems such as injustices in the criminal sectors and the push for new educational reforms.
7. What are some issues regarding young people in NYC that you are most concerned about?
Racial profiling continues to occur in various ways, whether it’s the infamous practice of police brutality towards a certain demographic or simply being suspiciously monitored by store staff while trying to shop. I also despise the lack of funding for school extracurricular activities. That’s why I wasn’t able to take as many Advanced Placement courses and participate in as many clubs and organizations than I would like. I wish my school could offer SAT/ACT classes so that I wouldn’t have the burden of studying for them on my own.
8. What do you think should be the priorities of the next mayor?
Definitely education and criminal justice. Those issues are so prominent in today’s society, especially in New York, considering that these topics affect me greatly because I am a student facing budget-cuts, overcrowded classrooms, and having my Muslim brothers and sisters being “monitored” at religious centers because we fit the description of possible threats. From hate crime to low graduation rates, the next mayor is expected to fix these problems in light of a better future.
9. What do you enjoy about being involved in the first ever youth-led mayoral debate?
I loved the snacks! No seriously; I enjoyed that my opinion mattered and what I had to say would set a precedent for future young adults to voice their opinions. I loved that I was in a room among teenagers like me who are just as passionate about making a better tomorrow for our future. This experience has left me with so much to offer in this city. I realized how powerful my words are and the actions I take can impact my community so much.
10. If there was one piece of advice you could give to the mayoral candidates, what would it be?
To hang loose, duh! What I really mean is that the mayoral candidates should definitely be as open minded as they can. Living in such a diverse city where there are so many perspectives to consider, the mayoral candidates must act accordingly and address the problems at hand as best as possible. The mayoral candidates should speak on or against what they believe in. That is what matters the most. The last thing New York needs is mayor who tries to please everyone and in turn that might hurt millions of others.