WEEK #27: AMINA WARSAME
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Amina, I am a 22-year-old Black, Muslim woman and would describe myself as a passionate, caring, and creative person who loves working with young people and contributing to positive and effective social change in the world. I am a photographer, a writer, a coach, a youth mentor and facilitator. Most importantly, I coach and teach young people the things I love, such as sports and photography which makes me love these things even more.
I also love trying out new things, experiencing new places and meeting new people as I feel there’s always something to learn and always somewhere to grow as a person.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.
Growing up in a low-income, single parent household was never easy especially as a Black, Muslim woman. There would be a lot of emotions I’d have to hold onto because of the loss I had experienced, I had a lot of anger and sadness in me so I turned to sport– specifically soccer and track and field. However, playing sports also came with it many challenges as I would always be one of the only visible Muslim women playing with a hijab. While my teammates and opponents typically wore their hair in buns, I had my hair wrapped; while they wore short sleeves, I always wore long-sleeves and while they wore shorts, I wore pants or tights underneath my shorts. There’s no question about it, there would always be stares and giggles, and side-comments, but when I got on the field, on the track or on the court, all I saw was the game; these places became my safe-haven. I remember people always being shocked when I would come first in 1500m run, top 5 in cross country and be named the captain of my senior soccer teams.
How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport that helped you overcome your barrier?
I never let the negativity that I was surrounded by affect me as a person, instead I let them fuel me. I always spoke up, I was confident in myself and my abilities because I knew I loved the feeling I would get when I played. I knew I could take out my anger on the ball, run further and release all the feelings of sadness, I knew it was my experiences that pushed me to want to be the best I could be as an athlete, and most importantly, as a person. I never saw my intersectional identity as something to be sad about, I never wanted anyone to pity me, I loved, love and always will love and take pride in being different and standing out, in being a Black, Muslim woman.
Playing sports helped me overcome my barriers because it instilled in me a sense of confidence, a sense of resiliency and motivation. Playing sports taught me the importance of believing in yourself and your abilities, in striving to be the best version of yourself in owning my voice, in never giving up and in