Spotlight Tuesdays Presents: The Activist

Madina

ac·tiv·ist
/ˈaktivəst/
noun

a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

Madina is truly one of a kind, so full of life! From the moment I met her, I knew she was a forced to be reckoned with. An advocate, activist, author, poet, social worker, and game changer. She stands with all communities of color in solidarity. She fights on the frontlines and challenges the system. She proudly advocates and spreads a wealth of knowledge about her people in the Afghan community. An inspiration with an amazing story to tell.

Here’s her story:

Tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you meet Bree?

I’m the child of Afghan refugees settled on Tongva land in what is now called Los Angeles. I describe myself that way because decolonization, of our minds, of our language, our education, it’s all important to me. My parents survived the Afghan civil war and had me one year after. I was raised in a progressive Pashtun household. The Pashtun people are the largest matrilineal tribe in the world, and I’m proud to come from such resilient people.

I always wanted to work in a service capacity and this brought me into the field of social work & mental health. I’m especially passionate about using my privilege as a non-black, non-Indigenous person of color to fight for equity and promote anti-racism. I had the privilege of meeting Bree while we both served at Covenant House, a transitional aged youth shelter in Hollywood, CA.

What inspired you to start your blog? How long has it been up and running?

I always wrote long Facebook posts and have had something to say since I was young. The Afghan & Iraqi occupations really influenced my desire to speak out against oppression & injustice. I always wanted to write in some capacity. Burqas & Beer was born after the Israeli assault on Palestine in 2014; this was the year I became highly involved in grassroots organizing in LA, and I documented my experience through my blog.

What is the main focus of your blog?

Burqas & Beer is pretty intersectional; my own journey through trauma & healing and navigating my ID as a brown, Muslim, Afghan woman activist. But I also highlight issues I’m passionate about. Currently, I’m focusing a lot on how my community (SWANA/MENA) perpetuates anti-blackness. We’re often seen as these “model minorities”, but we buy into what the white man sells us. So in an attempt to assimilate, we have inherited harmful prejudices against black & brown folk. I want to challenge these narratives and create an understanding that white supremacy seeks to dehumanize us ALL.

What do you hope your audience gains from your reading your content?

I hope that folks open their minds to experiences outside of their own. I hope to reframe what we think of when we imagine Muslim, refugee, Afghan, feminine identity. I hope non-black/non-indigenous folks learn that they can be strong allies and accomplices in the fight against anti-blackness. Overall I just want people to have open hearts and minds – and for my young Afghan readers, to know they’re not alone in their struggles. I guess I like challenging the status quo through sharing my experiences and SHAKING THE TABLE.

What does influence mean to you?

Influence means responsibility. I try my best to be intentional about what I post but Im a flawed human being whos growing everyday. I take my platform seriously and hope I can make an impact and create open dialogues.

What words of encouragement would you give others who may want to start a blog?

Just start. My audience has shared with me that they like that I’m vulnerable, and that I share interesting content. Everyone has a story to share. You’d be surprised how strong of a connection you can have with someone you don’t even know just by sharing.

What are your top 3 favorite blogs that you follow?

I LOVE Marc Lamont Hill, his activism really inspires me. I also love HowNotToTraveLikeABasicBitch, a decolonial travel blog, and binchcity, run by a young girl who’s open about her mental health struggles through HILARIOUS, relatable memes.

Where can readers follow you for more information?

@BurqasandBeer on IG!

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