Khadija Gurnah is the Organizing Director for Define American. Previously, Khadija worked on immigration advocacy at MomsRising. She has worked alongside various governmental departments, on a wide range of projects, including bullying prevention, cultural sensitivity, religious accommodations for youth in the juvenile justice system, and bolstering enrollment for Muslims in the Affordable Care Act. She is a recipient of the White House’s Champion of Change Award, and of the EMAC Special Award in Health Disparities from her alma mater, the Yale School of Public Health.
Blog Post List
August 29, 2017
Faith and religious expression occupy a unique space in American culture. We have accepted, for the most part, that overt religious expressions are only part of what defines any one individual or community. We allow nuance such that Christmas caroling and bar mitzvahs and Holi festivals can be enjoyed by all. Muslim Americans have featured prominently in this American dialogue, yet it is often within a very narrow bandwidth that only allows for discussion of religious law (on which most Muslims are not scholars) or head coverings (which a large portion of Muslim women do not wear). The day-to...
August 18, 2017
“ My story is the story of millions: We are here, we are students, we are teachers, we are innovators and we are hard-working individuals committed to our communities.” - Priscilla ( Be sure to click the quote to read Priscilla's story covered in the New York Times.) * *Ask Congress - Protect the 800,000 DREAMers like Priscilla from deportation! DREAMers are young adults who were brought to America as small children and raised in this country, knowing no other home. As U.S. Senator Schumer stated, DREAMers are “Americans in every way but paperwork.” Priscilla, a MomsRising member, is a...
June 19, 2017
June 1st marked the beginning of Immigrant Heritage Month. Immigrant Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to explore and celebrate the unique stories and cultural contributions of our nation's immigrants. Our staff at MomsRising reflect our diverse nation and we have many staff who are either immigrants or children of recent immigrants. Please join us as we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month by sharing our team's stories of immigration and we welcome you to share yours and tag @MomsRising and @MaMasConPoder along with the hashtag #IHMStories IMG_2347.JPG IMG_2348.JPG IMG_2349.JPG IMG_2350...
June 15, 2017
UPDATED 6/19/2017: A young Muslim teenager lost her life after being attacked. Read on to learn how to best support Muslim kids across the country who will be feeling unsafe. Nabra.jpg We remember 17 year old Nabra Hassanen, killed last Friday. *** In the current political climate, American Muslims have been at the center of heated social and political debates. Much of this discussion has been fueled by negative rhetoric that has been a catalyst for physical and verbal assaults on Muslims and people perceived to be Muslim. While not all discussion of American Muslims has been negative - there...
June 13, 2017
On Friday May 12, I joined MomsRising members from across the country to deliver mini Statues of Liberty to all 100 Senators. I went as an immigrant and as a mother because I wanted to make sure that my children and the children of all immigrants were remembered and protected by our legislators. When we visited Senate offices, MomsRising members spoke on how the diversity of our nation is what has made us a strong, innovative, and prosperous country. Immigrants play a large role in our country, they are our mothers, friends and family. They are an important part of our economy, founding many...
June 7, 2017
Raising a child is no easy mission. Parenting is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding tasks there is! While it’s important for parents to provide food, shelter and safety for their children, it’s also necessary for parents to focus on helping their children understand and express their feelings. Learning how to express trust, joy, anger, love, sadness, and fear will help children navigate relationships, develop self awareness and self esteem, and build their executive functions to tackle the many things the world throws their way. Starting from birth, babies learn who they are by how...
March 9, 2017
It is a tumultuous time in our nation's history for our immigrant communities. President Trump released a re-written executive order on refugee resettlement. Similar to the original order, the new order: Bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—for 90 days Suspends the entire refugee resettlement program for 120 days Reduces the number of refugees the United States welcomed from 110,000 to 50,000, a historic low; and Mandates review and additional security vetting procedures for refugees, immigrants and nonimmigrants. While the explicit...
January 27, 2017
My first job out of grad school was working on Medicaid outreach. One of the first people who called me for help was a young woman of color who asked for my advice in accessing healthcare. She was experiencing complications in her pregnancy and didn't have insurance - she was looking for help on how to manage her pregnancy without using an emergency room as her primary source of care. She didn't know she qualified for Medicaid for pregnant women. We enrolled her in Medicaid that same day, but it was too late for any intervention and she wasn't able to carry her pregnancy to term. She called...
December 5, 2016
I am a Muslim mom. My family is probably a lot like yours. I joined MomsRising because I was concerned about our kids having access to healthy school lunches. I signed up to support paid family/medical leave because I knew from experience working mothers had to make hard choices after giving birth. I saw what my young family needed and wanted to help make sure all our kids have access to high quality, affordable childcare that meets their social and emotional needs. There are many Muslim families just like mine across the country. President-elect Trump has proposed instituting a “Muslim...
November 12, 2016
Hemos escuchado de padres de familia con niños en edad escolar de todo el país que están sintiendo ansiedad como resultado de la elección. Padres de familia que tienen dificultades para tratar de asegurar que los niños en sus comunidades se sientan seguros ante el aumento de la intimidación y el acoso en las escuelas. Comprendemos su preocupación y estamos aquí para ayudarlos. Como primer paso, te exhortamos a que contactes a la escuela de tu hijos/as y hables con ellos sobre sus planes o políticas para hacer frente al acoso. Incluso si tu hijo no ha tenido problemas, es buena idea porque...
November 11, 2016
We are hearing from parents of school-aged children across the country who are feeling anxious as a result of the election. Parents who are struggling with how they can make sure the children in their communities feel safe in the face of increased bullying and harassment in schools. We hear your concerns and are here to help. As a first step, we encourage you to reach out to your child's school and talk with them about the plans or policies they have in place to deal with bullying. Even if your child hasn’t encountered any problems, it’s a good idea because it’s helpful to have an existing...
October 3, 2016
My son was 3 years old when I was accepted into my Masters program. As soon as I received my acceptance letter, I started looking for preschool programs for him. I knew very little about what to look for in a program. He was my first child and it would be the first time he would be in a full-time preschool program. My university was half an hour from our home, so we were fortunate to find him in a spot in a program that was close to my lecture halls. The program focused on social and emotional development, but at that time, I didn’t know much about what this meant. In fact, most of what I...
March 25, 2016
I welcome you to read the below blog posts by Muslim writers and allies, leave a comment or two in support and share on your social media channels. Such an act may appear mild in today’s political climate, but it lifts us all. I've been fortunate to be a part of this community with incredible people who are doing much needed work on healing our nation through social justice work. The humility and humanity of this community is the human story that I believe will prevail.
February 3, 2016
Today I was very honored to be one of the participants at a roundtable discussion today with President Obama when he visited a Baltimore-area mosque. It was a historic moment as it was the first time in his presidency to visit a mosque in the United States. It was also a personally significant moment to have the opportunity to meet and welcome the President to the mosque where I met my husband 14 years ago. I have been working on public health outreach in the Muslim community, including working with MomsRising on an obesity prevention toolkit for the Muslim community . As anti-Muslim...
July 9, 2015
Author: As a mother of three young children and a public health practitioner, I was drawn to the Yvonne Maffei’s blog: “ My Halal Kitchen ”. In amongst her recipes are insights on developing wholesome and healthy family eating traditions. She publishes sumptuous recipes, full of fruits and vegetables and her Instagram page is a treasure trove of advice for home gardeners. Yvonne Maffei, was born and raised in small-town Ohio in the heartland of America. Being half Sicilian and half Puerto-Rican, she grew up with a rich tradition of eating homemade food from two cultures. Her blog embraces not...
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