AAANY Youth Spend Day at Columbia UniversityBrooklynat - April 10th, IUME Teacher's College, Columbia University April 10th was a very exciting day for Brooklynat, the AAANY's female empowerment group! From 10 AM to 9 PM we were at Teacher's College, Columbia University attending a workshop put together by IUME (Institute for Urban and Minority Education) staff members who assist with various youth groups at AAANY. Throughout this day I was given the chance to explore, learn, and participate in various enriching activities that sent me home with a both a headache and a desire to know more about everything that I had encountered that day.
Thanks to Dr. Arshad Ali, Katharine Vincent and Sarah Brandt, and the Institute of Urban and Minority Education at Teacher's College, we were able to use the resources of the university to prepare a presentation for the upcoming Teenage Identity and Diversity Education (TIDE) 2012 Wave Of Change Conference that will be held in late May at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Our presentation, titled "Security, Suspicion, and Surveillance: Growing Up As A Female Arab American In New York City," seeks to educate about the daily obstacles that young Arab American women face while looking at the positive impacts that we are making on our communities. The concluding segment of our presentation, "Hope For The Future," explores the different ways in which we are taking action. This segment of our day was full of trial and error, as well as laughs and frustration. In the end, the effort paid off because I can say that I'm ready and can't wait to actually present on the day of the conference! Later that day, we were given the opportunity to attend a panel discussion regarding the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is proposed to grant undocumented students with access to average instate tuition rates and opportunities for scholarships, loans, and financial aid. Several assemblymen and dreamers were present to advocate for the legislation and encourage its enactment. Having taken several pages of notes, I was able to go back and reflect on what was said during the discussion and bring it back to the other youth at AAANY, as the DREAM Act is a rising campaign amongst them.
To conclude the amazing experience, Professor Carine Allaf invited us to attend her weekly course, "Women and Education in the Middle East," held from 7 to 9 PM. Having just attended one class session, I walked out with a better understanding of the connection between education and culture. What made the course all the more interesting was that it was half of what I considered my own culture that was being discussed, yet I was learning so much new information, or at least making connections that I had never thought to consider in the past. The nature of the course was very fascinating. It wasn't one of those classes where the professor is just standing up at the front giving a lecture; it was one big discussion, led by the graduate students themselves in which they were learning from each other. It was a learning method that seemed to be highly effective, as I certainly took away a lot from what was being said - and I was only an observer.
-Yasmina Ibrahim, Editor-in-Chief, Amplifyer