Black History Month is the time of year where we tell the untold stories of Black men and women. we have an opportunity to learn of the historical impact and contribution the black community has had on society.
Dating as far back as the 1800s, the recognition of the black Arab community specifically has been disregarded. It is important to recognize the diversity within the Arab community and work towards a more inclusive and educated future.
Here are 5 Influential Black Arab women from the community you should know about:
1. Khawla Ksiksi
Khawla Ksiksi is a feminist and anti-racist activist from Tunisia. After working at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Tunis, Ksiksi came across some works written by Angela Davis and was immediately inspired.
“The idea of deepening my understanding of this subject and of taking a stand in the fight against racism became a commitment. I, therefore, approached the subject with another activist (Maha Abdelhamid). We wanted to set up a collective to fight racial discrimination in Tunisia.” she said in a 2018 interview with the Arab Reform Initiative.
She and activist Maha Abdelhamid set up the Voice of Tunisian Black Women Collective that works towards allowing victims of racism and discrimination a judgement-free outlet to express their opinions. The collective consists of seven black female members who are all educated in different areas of expertise.
2. Fatma Emam Sakory
Fatma Emam Sakory is a Nubian rights activist, feminist researcher and translator. Sakory is an activist that focuses on political, social and cultural reform in Egypt since the 2011 revolt; the Egyptian revolution.
Sakory also focuses on women’s rights and activism. She has worked as a feminist researcher working with many different organizations including Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Egyptian Women’s Center for Legal Assistance and many more. Sakory marched along with other protesters in Tahrir Square. After the revolution in 2013 Sakory worked with novelist Haggag Oddoul towards the support of the Nubian right of return. The Nubian right of return law involves the government’s obligation to allow Nubians to return to their native village in Southern Egypt. Sakory currently writes on her blog regularly and is active on her social media.
3. Sara El Hassan
If a conversation is started about Influential Black Arab women, Sara El Hassan is bound to be mentioned. Sara is a writer, activist and internet influencer who has been a strong voice for the Black-Arab community. The Sudanese-American activist became a leading voice in assisting in drawing media attention to the 2018-2019 uprising of protests against the former Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. Hassan has also written for CNN, AFROPUNK, and African Arguments whilst also being a co-host on the podcasts No Sir No Ma’am since 2016. Overall, Hassan works towards the education of social rights issues.
4. Amna Ali
Activist and entrepreneur Amna Ali from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the founder of the Black Arab Collective. Ali was born in UAE but previously lived in Savannah, Georgia and Michigan for two years before moving back to UAE. A turning point for Ali was when she recognized the conservative nature of Emirati culture.
“I went through so many different phases and friendship groups trying to fit in. I’ve always felt like an outsider,” she said in a 2020 interview with Black Girls Around the World.
This realization then inspired the Black Arab Collective. In 2020 Ali Founded the black Arab collective on Instagram that aims to share the stories and amplify the voices of the black Arab community.
The Instagram account currently has a little over 2,000 followers and has been consistent in video and picture information that aims to spark discussion.
Follow the Black Arab Collective @blackarabscollective on Instagram.
5. Maryam Abu Khaled
Palestinian actress Maryam Abu Khaled made waves in the Black Arab community after an Instagram video of her addressing racism in the Middle East went viral in June of last year. In the video, she addresses the casual racism within the community and compares it to racism within the USA.
Khaled recalled personal instances where she had been a victim of racism including a time when a woman told her daughter “Go home, enough playing in the sun, so you don’t get burnt and look like Maryam.”
The intent of the video was to start discussions about the blunt racism in the Arab community and the impact it will have on future generations.
Education on the Black Arab community is the first step in the right direction towards familiarizing yourself with the stories and history of the Black Arab community. We as a society should work towards having discussions about the lack of representation and even the misrepresentation within the Black Arab community. These Influential black Arab women have begun to pave the way towards normalizing the recognition and support that the black Arab community deserves.
By Sian Linore – YLT Staff