Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sakinah Mujahid - How do you see the humanities growing and active in your life/work?

Sakinah Mujahid, a 13-year Veteran of the Army, received the Veterans’ Voices Award in 2013 and this year is co-chairing the Humanities Center’s September 11 award ceremony. Mujahid is the Executive Director of Sisters Need A Place (SNAP), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and advocating for Muslim women in need of shelter and resources. She currently serves as the Associate Program Manager for Beacon Families Moving Forward Program SW where she is committed to ending homelessness.

As a woman Veteran the humanities have taught me that you never know anyone’s full story. Judging a woman Veteran without knowing her full story does not do her justice. Being a soldier does not have anything to do with gender. The humanities allow us—whether civilian or soldier—to listen and hear that absent story of our Veterans, especially on a day like September 11. Just be proud of our soldiers and Veterans, both men and women, and actually open your mind to hear our story.

My life journey has taken a positive turn over the past year thanks to the impact of the humanities in my life. The humanities have effectively erased any negativity I was carrying and really allowed me to accept where I am at now -- opening the door for more opportunities to come my way. The humanities have essentially brought out a side of my life that I never knew existed.

I strive to end homelessness. Through my work with SNAP, the humanities have allowed me to see that everyone is an individual and on a different journey. Each Muslim woman who seeks help through SNAP is at a different stage of her own journey. SNAP is here to help. By accepting each Muslim woman for who she is and understanding her unique story, I have opened my own mind and am more accepting. This change in me has resulted in SNAP openly serving more clients, regardless of their faith background.

A whole different type of homelessness is revealed through my work with Beacon in Scott/Carver County. These families experiencing homelessness do not fit into that stereotype of “homeless”. They could be your neighbor who has hit a hard phase of life. Seeing and working with this different type of homelessness has actually given me the self-confidence to share my own story. By looking at me you would never believe that I served 13 years in the military. The same is true for a homeless person from the Scott/Carver County area who does not look like a homeless person. You would never guess their situation just by looking at them.

This September 11th, as Americans honor and remember Veterans, take time and get to know a Veteran. Don’t judge them by how they look. Hear their stories.

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