Sasha and Shurooq, Instagram Live Interview
Sasha Sloan and Shurooq Safaa Al Jewari are working together to launch education workshops. The workshops are intended as school-based presentations and focus on friendship, inclusivity, and mental health.
Darien Laird, our Director of External Media, caught up with these two and asked them a few questions about their workshop and platform.
Sasha, I want to start with you. When did you realize that supporting refugees and newcomers was going to be your platform and why is that so important to make an impact there?
Well, for the first several years that I was in the Miss America organization, my platform was girls' empowerment. And so that was the project that I was working on and doing a lot with, you know, girls empowerment here in Utah. And I think the deeper that I got into it, the more that I felt like the intersection between women's rights and then issues of immigration, I felt like that was a much more important place to focus. Because I feel like it's one thing to receive discrimination when you're a woman. I've definitely felt sexism in my life. I've experienced that. But I think that that pales in comparison to the compounded effect of the challenges faced by women when they are forced to migrate. So it kind of just narrowed in over the years.
Shurooq, you have had this very big life experience as a refugee and coming to a new place and establishing yourself and integrating into a community. Why, for you,is this so important? Why did you decide, I'm going to do this, I'm going to take on this big responsibility?
I just don't want any newcomer to have the same experience that I had, being discriminated against or facing racism or being excluded and bullied in school, and then having to go through all the mental health issues that I have been through. It's not right, just for us to live in a different country. We don't have to face any of those consequences. We don't have to pay for them. Just because we wanted to start a new life. So it's not right. It's our human right to live in a new country with a peaceful life and feel included in a community. I never felt that way at all. And I don't want any newcomers to have the same experience I had.
Watch the entire live interview below:
Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Welcome.us Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by geography, and it struck me that there was a highway that I could hop on in my car and drive all the way down into South America. As an imaginative young girl growing up on the Texas-Mexico border, the idea of a road that could take me from my sleepy border town, Laredo, Texas, to the edge of the world in South America, left me awe struck. In high school I learned that this highway is called the Pan-American Highway.
Egette was born and raised in a refugee camp in Tanzania, Africa. In 2021, she graduated with a B.S. in psychology from George Mason University. In 2022, she received her MA in psychology with a focus in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, also from George Mason. She was recently featured in Forbes on World Mental Health Day. She founded Safe Haven Space, to empower and educate refugee families in the US about mental health and wellbeing.