Muslim Americans I Wish I Followed in Middle School

Muslim Americans I Wish I Followed in Middle School

As a Muslim, Mexican Iranian American, middle school was hard—and living in a predominantly white liberal city didn’t help either. Early on, social media fueled my insecurities by bombarding me with images of skinny, white women that were considered the pinnacle of beauty. As I started following more progressive and inclusive accounts, however, I realized the power of shaping my feed to reflect the world I wanted to live in. Here are 3 Muslim Americans that would have inspired my middle school self.

Leah Vernon

I first heard about Leah Vernon in high school and wished I had sooner. Leah Vernon exposed me to different ways of being Muslim: Her unapologetically beautiful and fashionable Instagram posts inspired me to not define myself based on other peoples’ desires or expectations. She inspired me to be me. Check out Leah Vernon’s book “Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim.”

Yara Shahidi

I discovered Yara Shahidi on the show Black-ish. She was the first mixed actor I had seen on screen. I distinctly remember reading an Instagram post where she wrote, “I am the result of love. More specifically, black and Iranian love. Of Shia love, of Christian love, of American love, of a love that highlights how interconnected we truly are.” Her words deeply resonated with my own experiences as the daughter of Muslim Iranian and Christian Mexican parents.

Mauree Turner

Mauree Turner became the first Muslim elected in Oklahoma history and the first openly non-binary person elected to a state level position in United States history. They are a queer, non-binary Black Muslim Oklahoma Legislator who has been doing grassroots organizing and fighting for immigration rights and criminal and racial justice for years, and serving as a role model for activists of all ages. 

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