Friday, May 5, 2017

How Intersectionality Plays out for one Madisonian

 April’s Madison Magazine featured Muslims in Madison.  Five individuals speak to their experience. Fatoumata Ceesay gives a perspective of being both Muslim and Black.

“I’m part of two fights that are kind of similar,” says Ceesay. When she’s at a Black Lives Matter rally, she can bring the Muslim perspective; when she’s organizing for Islam, she can share her perspective as a black woman. “Black people here in the U.S. are treated so unfairly and, post-9/11, Muslims here have been treated incredibly horribly,” she says, pointing to President Trump’s policies regarding Muslims as an example. “Because of those injustices,” she says, “I want to help people who don’t have voices, to have their voices heard by the general public.”

From Ceesay’s perspective, Western women’s ongoing fight for equal rights, even the right to vote (which black women didn’t expressly have until the Voting Rights Act of 1965), seems “slow in catching on” compared to Islam, which she says has mandated women’s rights to education and their own money “literally since like the beginning of Islam.” Confronting stereotypes is part of why Ceesay, a Madison365 intern who has written pieces for highlighting social injustices—including one called “10 Things You Know About Islam That Are Wrong”—has chosen to pursue journalism, particularly photojournalism. Her hijab is a visual representation of her personal faith, and she hopes that when people see her wearing it, they’ll speak to her instead of stare. 

How am I welcoming diversity in my city?

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