Sophomore Imaan Tahir discusses using her voice for justice


Imaan Tahir first started advocating for stricter gun laws after the Parkland shooting back when she was in middle school. Like other sophomores, she had virtual learning during freshman year. “[The pandemic] made me realize that I should be less focused on broader political opinions, broader people, and broader mindsets. I should only involve myself in things that I can personally help and change.”

Diana Baeza, Personality Perfectionist

When did you first start using your voice to advocate for justice?
“In middle school, I became super passionate about advocating for human rights for all. I think it started when Trump became president.”

What caused you to become passionate?
“I care about my friends and family around me. I don’t think anyone deserves to be treated unfairly. As a fifth grader, I was terrified I was going to get some rights taken away because of the president. He did end up administering the Muslim travel ban but thank goodness he did nothing that affected me directly.”

How do you feel when using your voice?
“[For as] long as I can remember, I’ve been pretty opinionated. I’ve toned myself down a lot this year though because I realized how much some of the media began to consume me: especially being on TikTok during the pandemic. Everything on there was extremely biased and would spread biased information. That’s why I don’t go too far into these topics anymore unless I have unbiased info.”

What are some topics you are interested in?
“I’m interested in bringing communities together and providing equitable opportunities for all who need them.”

Do you have any plans or projects you are currently working on for this year or the next couple of years?
“I’m currently organizing a culture day and Muslim Student Association (MSA) which can both, hopefully, be annual things from now on. For the culture day, I’m working with [sophomores] Maisoon Abusbeih, Allison Lam and Anna Guo with [social studies teacher] Juile Decaro. For the MSA, I’m working with [junior] Zack Horack and Maisoon.”

In what way has your voice contributed to your identity and helped shape who you are?
“I don’t really like to call it activism. I don’t do enough in my opinion to be able to call it that. I’d just call it being active in the community and advocating for those who are in need. I think it has shaped me into who I am because fortunately, I got into becoming passionate for others in middle school. Still, I sometimes feel like the gift I have isn’t enough, or I’m not using it to the best of my ability. But my desire to bring my community together has made me more connected to those in my religion, culture, and school through Muslim Youth of Saint Louis (MYSTL), peer teaching, student council, and whatever I can do to get involved.”