Episode 003 - Ifrah Absir & Najmah Hasaan Somali Student Association

On this podcast we talk with the incredible students of Washington University, Ifrah and Najmah about their involvement with the Somali Student Association, their continual activism in their neighborhoods combating the negative impact of gentrification in the Somali community, and what it is like being young Muslim women with Somali refugee parents in America. Check out the links below and browse through the Podcats Levels of Action to see how you can give to their cause!



Ifrah Abshir is a current Sophomore at the University of Washington on the Pre-Health track. She is interested in combining her love for medicine and social justice. She has participated in social movements ranging from accessing inclusive curriculum, implementing transcriptional equity, exposing inequalities in the computer science industry, to combating gentrification and the relocation of ethnic businesses. She has stayed in the south end of Seattle for all her schooling, up until college. This is what gave her the start to activism - just addressing the needs that were clearly present. She is a 3x member of the CDF Freedom Schools family, and last summer spent 6 weeks leading her own classroom themed after Chance the Rapper. She is Somali, but was born in Uganda. Eventually the goal in her life, is to take her knowledge she received from here and use it to rebuild her country with other likeminded folks. 


Naomi is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in environmental studies. She has been involved in the Somali Student Association since her freshmen year as a general member, former president, former club advisor, and now as a member of the SSA Conference planning committee. Her activism work is mainly focused on environmental justice in the lower Duwamish region. She has been working in environmental engagement for over 2 years now, and hopes to continue to do so. 



Somali Student Association aims to firstly create a space for Somali student at the UW to come together and feel included and represented. Secondly, we focus on community outreach and events. Somali students, especially in Seattle, mainly come from a low income background, are the children of refugees, and are also black and Muslim. Coming from an extremely marginalized background instills a sense of urgency in you, to not only connect with people like yourself but also to uplift your community in any way you can. Today, SSA hosts college readiness workshops in the Spring and the fall to encourage East African youth, especially in South Seattle, to pursue higher education. Through these efforts, we have managed to significantly increase the number of Somali students that apply and are admitted to the UW. We also host alumni mixers and networking events, to connect college students to Somali professionals. In addition to this, we have a lot of "fun" programming as well, like a yearly talent show, and frequent discussion groups at our general meetings called "Shaah and Sheeko" (which means Tea and Talk in Somali). What we love most about SSA is that it allows our peers a space to fully be themselves. We can come to an SSA meeting, grab a cup of traditional Somali tea, and engage with our peers about the travel ban, how we can combat the school to prison pipeline, or who the best local artist is. It allows us to exist in all our complexities and intersectionalities. 



Website for the conference: ssaconference.org

Twitter: @uw_ssa & @ssaconference




Crystal Munson