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By on September 30, 2017

Muslim Girls Making Change (and managing adults, too)

This is a guest post from Kiran Waqar and Hawa Adam of Muslim Girls Making Change. Kiran and Hawa provided a keynote presentation (recording shown below) at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Statewide (CALCASA) Conference in August. 

This summer we were invited to provide a keynote at the CALCASA Statewide Conference. Having begun our journey as activists not too long ago, we are extremely thankful for the support and opportunities we’ve been given.

Our names are Kiran Waqar, senior at South Burlington High School, and Hawa Adam, senior at Burlington High School, and we are two fourths of Muslim Girls Making Change, a slam poetry quartet in Vermont. Since our formation in 2016, we have performed nationally and created a platform for ourselves. Using this platform we’ve been able to speak on a myriad of issues, including, but not limited to: the lack of youth voice.

As youth activists we are constantly being asked to serve on “youth organizations” and “youth advisory boards” where our sole duty is limited to choosing the flavor of ice cream and the number of t-shirts to be made. We’re tired of it. Youth are tired of it. And we know when we aren’t being valued. So when we had the opportunity to present a workshop and give keynotes to the very organizations that may be well-meaningly and unknowingly engaging in adultist behavior, we were ecstatic.

We were even more thrilled to have received such a generous and respective response. People had heard us, were curious about youth activism, and were willing to take next steps…So…what now?

  1. Center Youth In Your Communities

After our speech and workshop, we had a lot of questions on how to best work with youth in unique situations. The best answer for this won’t likely come from us, but rather youth in your communities. Reach out to stellar youth, youth community service clubs, and existing youth who are involved to ask, and most importantly, listen to what they want.

  1. Partner with Already Existing Youth Groups and Organizations

Young people also exist outside of youth boards and committees, we also take our own actions and have created our own initiatives. These include:

March For Our Future: March For Our Future is a national youth initiated and youth led march to reclaim youth voice and to give young people a platform. Originating in Vermont through the Vermont Women’s March, this group spread to various areas of California, New Jersey, New York, Arizona, Washington, D.C., Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. To learn more or get involved contact [email protected]

Youth Activists For Progressive Change (YAPC): Youth Activists for Progressive Change (YAPC), originating out of the ThisGEN: Youth Summit, works to connect young people nationwide to better organize and amplify youth voice.

We look forward to connecting with the PreventConnect community more in the future.


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