The Heart and Soul of My Activism

We live in a world that tends to provides more questions than answers, but for Maggie, there seems to always be an answer, a purpose, and even a hope. As a double major in Arabic and comparative cultures, Maggie seeks a unique path, especially when it comes to her goals in life. 
Maggie was born in South Africa and grew up in Mozambique. Throughout her journey amongst various mosaics of cultures and people, she began to realize just how important language was when maneuvering through the life unfolding before her. 

“Language ended up being this path to building relationships with people that have interests that are aligned with yours.” Thus, maggie continued on her path, finding passion for Refugee services along the way, and hoping someday to work in Sub-saharan Africa. The array of languages that Maggie has already began to tackle include French, Portuguese, and now Arabic.

With great wisdom, Maggie expressed to me that “you have to have humility when you approach a language”; and her perspective speaks to her experience. From activism to volunteering, Maggie has infiltrated humility into all aspects of her involvement as a language enthusiast. 
Maggie’s integrity is seen through her volunteer work with the Refugee Development Center here in Lansing. By continuing to improve her language skills, Maggie wants to “gain trust from a community”, and in this case, the community she works with at the RDC, comprised of people who have felt the repercussions of injustices throughout the world and look to readjust, reintegrate, and find opportunity once again. 

As Maggie delves deeper into the life-changing relationship between language study and global activism, she also continues to combat Islamophobia here on campus through Project Nur as an e-board member. “My language led me to this organization, which is the heart and soul of my activism.” Knowing the importance of this current issue, Maggie hopes to create greater understanding, intention, and celebration of Muslim culture. Project Nur encompasses these aspects within a student-led advocacy organization, which allows students with passion for social justice to foster awareness and respect for the Muslim community. “We had an event on April 1st called Islam around the world, and over 450 people came and participated in a celebration of Arab and Muslim culture”.

In all that she does, Maggie continues to be a light when it comes to finding the answers, a purpose, and hope amongst questions the world seems to always be asking. With heart and soul, she is inspiring a new generation of language-learners: those integrating activism amongst the communicative components that come when studying a language. 

– Story by Kristen Gmerek