Voices – 5/13/2021

Yamha Sami – Senior

 Tell Us about yourself! What kinds of things do you like to do, Hobbies, Fun Facts, Etc? 

 Some hobbies of mine are drawing and painting, specifically pencil drawings and acrylic painting! Sometimes watercolor too but I’m not so good at it. I’m a part of NHS, SIBS, and I’m on the board for the Youth Activism Club here at MHS. Fun fact about me is that it’s illegal for me to operate a motor vehicle. (I just don’t have my license). 

 What issues are you passionate about advocating for? Are there any organizations or clubs you’re a part of that work to help spread the messages that you’re advocating for? 

 I’m passionate about spreading awareness and resources about local and global issues — activism — which is why I’m on the board for Youth Activism Club! It’s a great club where anyone who’s even a little bit interested in being apart of the activism space can learn something. We’ve done a couple campaigns this year, like the micro-aggressions campaign on our Instagram, and we just wrapped up the Protect Our People campaign, where we raised money to donate masks to incarcerated people here in Ohio.

 What do you hope to do through spreading the word and informing others about these topics? 

 Well, I wasn’t always really informed on the issues I am today. A combination of growing up and just going out of my way to understand the world around me has kind of brought me to what I do today, so I want to be able to be that resource for anyone who also wants to learn and grow in that way. But I do think the first step for anyone looking to be apart of any type of activism is to go out of your way to learn about issues that pertain to the communities around you. 

 How does your identity and the issues you support play a role in your outlook on the world? 

 My parents are Pakistani Muslim immigrants and I’ve been here at Mason since kindergarten, so I’ve experienced my share of micro-aggressions from my American raised and non-Muslim counterparts. When I was younger it was like the feelings I had about being raised or taught differently were constantly belittled, because no one really understood where I was coming from. So as I’ve grown up I definitely have learned to be more open-minded because I know how it feels to have my feelings put aside just because they’re different from everyone else’s. 

 What would you like to see change or improve within the world we live in? That is, what do you want to change by advocating for the topics you’re speaking out on? 

 I really just want to change the way issues are talked about especially in our generation. There’s a lot of stigma around activism because of how performative a vast majority of it is. For example, I’ve seen tons of joke videos on TikTok about girls who repost Instagram infographics to their story even if half the people viewing will never click the post. Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of these girls — but that’s the not the point. I want our generation to get to a point where we can all critically think about every action we take. Posting on my story with an infographic may not be activism, but it is how I was motivated to go out of my way to learn more about issues. I want people to see something they don’t like or are interested in learning about, and then go to Google and search up the issue, what they can do about it, how to spread resources, and help. The extent of one’s knowledge on a topic should never be just an Instagram post, but that’s not to say they don’t still help. 

 If there’s one thing you want people to take away from reading this, what would it be? 

 To really genuinely think about opening up your world view and how you can make the world a better place, because it’s so much easier than you would think. 

Interview by Kaelyn Rodrigues (krodrigues.chronicle@gmail.com)