Friday, November 23, 2012

Social Change Project Introduction

         I am currently sitting in Common Grounds Coffeehouse in Bluffton, Ohio trying to get some homework done over Thanksgiving Break. This past week has been extremely busy as I have traveled over 2,000 miles, spending 35 hours in my car, and seeing 8 different states. Last weekend I traveled to Columbus, Georgia, for the annual SOA protest with six other students from EMU. I then drove home to Pandora on Monday for Thanksgiving Break. Wednesday I went to Detroit, Michigan for a concert with a good friend and am now spending some time relaxing and catching up on my to-do list. At the end of the semester, this to-do list gets very long. One of the items on my to-do list is my social change project for my Race and Gender class. I volunteered to go first next Thursday, so that means I really need to start working on it. The assignment is focus on the following questions and coming up with some sort of project:

"What issues are likely to shape your personal life, your community, academic and public discourses in this field in the coming decades?   What can you do or propose as a way of moving ahead in the areas of race and/or gender?

 This final presentation is an opportunity for creative expression.  It’s your space for looking ahead, taking action, reshaping policy and institutions, “doing something” tangible.  WHAT will be your contribution to changing society?"

My professor suggested to me from the beginning of the semester that I focus my project on something I learned while in Kurdistan. While I was over in Turkey and Iraq, I tried to look for ways in which race and gender played roles in that society and how they were different from my own culture, and especially how they were different than my own expectations. While racial issues existed in Kurdistan, I was more interested in gender roles and especially the roles women play in society.
          During the trip, I had a lot of interactions with Kurdish women and was able to hear some of their experiences living in the society they do. I believe that with our changing world and the spread of globalization, the issue of women within Islam is extremely important and especially in my own life as I hope to travel back to the Middle East after graduation and work within that culture. My contribution to this field and my way of moving ahead is telling some of the stories I heard from the women who have changed my life. By telling their stories on this blog and in presentations I do, I hope to little by little influence and change the way society today views Muslim women. Another part of my project includes expressing these stories through art. I have been working on a couple of paintings recently that give a glimpse of the beauty and peace of Islam, a glimpse that is not often seen in today's society. I hope to take these paintings with me to the places where I live and work and to be able to share the stories of peace and hope expressed in the art. 

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