By Ameer Abdul
Ameer Abdul on how our voices are the single most powerful tools we have to bring about a more equal and inclusive society.
Being born into activism, I was always taught that my voice was the single most powerful tool I had and regardless of my situation, I had to stand up and fight for what is right. My parents had moved to the U.S in the 90’s, escaping what they knew as home, a war-torn refugee camp in the Middle East. As I grew up, I learned more about the life my parents lived, how they were ignored by the world as their homes were destroyed. Avoiding violence, the only option they had was to peacefully protest and be activists in their own respective way. Through their stories of struggle, I realized that the simple fact that I am able to choose which issues I’d like to fight for makes me more privileged than they ever were. Activism is not something they necessarily wanted to do but it became who they are because of their situation. Fast forward to 2019, I look out and see millions of people who, like my family, have no option but to be activists because of all the injustice they are facing. It’s for that reason that I stand for what I believe in and make my voice heard on issues surrounding different communities.
. . . regardless of my situation, I had to stand up and fight for what is right.
These last few years have truly changed the lives of millions of people across the country, old and young. We are seeing young people get increasingly involved in politics, starting non-profits, rallying, fighting for their rights. The energy of young people across the country has become contagious and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. With that though, comes quite a bit of negativity being spewed our way. It’s honestly quite easy to get caught up in at all, especially when we see all these outdated, sexist, pieces of legislation being passed across the country. Currently, I stand as a Policy Coordinator for Period.org, a non-profit organization working to end period poverty and period stigma. My time with this organization has been incredibly busy and even more rewarding. Every day I work to combat the issue affecting menstruators across the world, looking to build a more inclusive and equal society for all. Together, the Period team has served over 500K periods, educated thousands of people on the issues surrounding menstruation, and fought against the period stigma.
The energy of young people across the country has become contagious and it doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
It’s work like this, work that is based on making the lives of those around you better, that empowers us all as a society. Even with all the passion we bring though, I’ve learned that the only way for us to have a lasting impact is through policy change. It’s shown me that activism is more than attending one rally and sharing one post on social media, but it's about sticking with the movement for the long haul, it's about fighting for this issue even when the hype dies down. We need to organize, knock on doors, and reach out to our friends, neighbors and family members. We have to take it upon ourselves to make the change and not wait on others to do so for us. If we want to make positive change in our societies and better the lives of those around us, then we must use our voices, the single most powerful tool we have and fight for what we believe in to make a more equal and inclusive world for all.
BIOGRAPHY: Ameer Abdul, a recent graduate from The Ohio State University, is a National Policy Coordinator for PERIOD.org with a proven record of tackling issues surrounding gender equality, human rights, and mental health. Abdul began his work in advocacy combating human sex trafficking across the country while also establishing himself as President of Humanism in Medicine working to destigmatize issues surrounding mental health. Driven by his passion to serve his community, Abdul co-founded Period at The Ohio State University where he and his chapter fought and succeeded to provide free menstrual products in 180 restrooms across the university campus. In addition to his involvements on campus, Abdul also worked with Ohio legislators to pass a bill in the House of Representatives exempting a tax on menstrual products across the state. Through his commitment to his role as Policy Coordinator, he has served as co-campaign director for PERIODs #ISignForPeriods letter campaign. Currently, Abdul is leading policy efforts, mobilizing young activists, and organizing rallies across the country for Periods upcoming National Period Day campaign on October 19th.