King st. Group
My name is Hamdi Jafar. I am 16 years old and a sophomore at Burlington High School. I identify as a African American muslim woman. I believe myself to be a thoughtful and nice person as well as respectful and responsible. I can be carefree but serious when I need to be. I live with both my parents and have ten siblings and although we don’t always get along we all love each other. I was born in Kakuma refugee camp but came to America at the age of two and have lived in Vermont ever since. Some of my favorite things to do are reading and drawing. Reading is one of my favorite things to do because no matter where I am I always find myself lost in the book and brought to a place where I can create my own images and see things the way I want to see them.
My name is Hawa Adam and I’m a junior at Burlington High school. I am an African American muslim female. I was born in Kenya and moved to the U.S. when I was four years old. The culture shift had a tremendous impact on my upbringing. I’ve lived in Vermont for a good thirteen years now, so I’m used to things. In my experience living here I’ve not only dealt with snow for the first time, but I’ve become an active member in my community. I am an advocate for blacklivesmatter, gender based violence, drug and alcohol prevention, you name it. I’m also the founder of Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC), a slam poetry group that fights for social justice. It was through MGMC that I found out about Conversations from the Open Road. I’m really excited to have conversations about religion and whether people are coming together to celebrate it or creating barriers to it.
My name is Zoe Koeninger, and I am a sophomore at Burlington High School. I am active in the BHS Drama Club, and have been in every production for the past two years. I am also active in the BHS/Rock Point Gay-Straight Alliance, and the Planned Parenthood Advocates for Sexual Knowledge program. I am very interested in social justice and working towards social change. I chose to do the Conversations from the Open Road trip because religious freedom is such an important issue, particularly in this polarized climate. I also have recently developed an interest in filmmaking, and am currently working on a film project right now. I hope to be able to learn more about different sides to the issue, and challenge others to think as well.
My name is Halima Said I am a sophomore at Burlington High School. I was born in Kenya and I came to the United States at the age of three in 2004. I was raised here in Vermont and been here all my life. Coming here at a young age was a big difference from Kenya. I remember when I first came here to the U.S., I was frightened by white people because as young child I was always used to seeing only black people back home. I quickly adjusted to the environment and began accepting everyone. It was thanks to the help of King Street Youth Center that I learned English, made friends, and created a path to success for myself. I am honored to be part of Conversations from the Open Road so I can bring my perspective and experience to the different places we plan on traveling to.
My name is Nasteha Abdullahi. I’m a junior at Burlington High school. I’m a Somali muslim female living in Burlington, Vermont. Vermont is a predominately white state so it gets difficult to find oneself, especially when, like me, you have to adjust to cultural norms. Nonetheless I’ve found solace within myself but have become an advocate for others through poetry, singing and dancing. I’ve joined groups like Black Lives Matter VT, Racial Justice Task Force, and Our Voices Exposed (OVX). These groups have shaped who I am. Conversations from the Open Road is another opportunity to network and interact with people who have different perspectives from me. This trip will prepare me for the real world, where people may not always think or come up with the same ideas as me.