Feature Photo By: Alexis Drummond – Iman Jodeh is the founder of Meet the Middle East, a nonprofit community based organization meant to support and teach about the Muslim community. Jodeh will be speaking at the Diversity Assembly next week. Senior Kent Ho said, “Having an activist come to talk to youth is great since it gives the youth insight on the real world.”
By: Myriam Alcala, Review Staff
Iman Jodeh, a Palestinian American, grew up in Aurora and grew up to be a Muslim activist. She explained how her upbringing influenced this decision, “I grew up in the shadow of two gulf wars that, unfortunately, normalized Islamophobia. […] I was thrown into a world of having to advocate for the Muslim and Arab community.”
Jodeh is a first-generation American whose parents migrated to the U.S. as Palestinian immigrants and refugees. She founded the nonprofit organization: Meet the Middle East, which serves as a spokesperson for the Colorado Muslim Society, and will be the keynote speaker of the Diversity Assembly on Monday, January 14th here at Rangeview.
“It’s very empowering to have a Muslim activist come to the school because she can teach us to be proud of ourselves even if we come from a different backgrounds,” said Freshmen Sami Addi.
Jodeh was brought up in a Muslim household with her siblings, she helped run her family business, was born and lived in Aurora for 34 years.
“I feel blessed to have been exposed to different and diverse communities,” added Jodeh.
Jodeh attended Overland High School. Like many students at Rangeview, was a part of a diverse community.
Jodeh’s father was a community activist who influenced her to follow those same footsteps. She explained how listening to her father conditioned her to speak to non-Muslims about, in her words, “the most misunderstood religion and region of the world.”
“I found myself teaching about Islam and the geopolitical situation of the middle east,” said Jodeh. “I was interested in creating change.”
Through her nonprofit, Jodeh works in advocacy and making sure her community is represented at “the table.” She also encourages students who want to create change to start identifying things they are interested in and finding local, small scale projects.
In regards to her presentation on Monday to Rangeview students, she hopes that she can encourage students to be open to engaging experiences and to find impactful friendships that are crucial to growth. She also emphasized the importance of traveling to engage in new perspectives.
The insight Jodeh leaves students with is this: “There will be many times that you will be faced with adversity and for different people, it will manifest itself in different ways. But you will be stronger for it.”
Jodeh is an advocate for change here in our own community and many believe this presentation will be empowering and great for students to hear.