Where do I see our youth headed? I’m not sure, it’s a tricky question. You don’t really see the younger community with much motivation now. There is one exception to this madness, and her name is Laila Abdelaziz; the field coordinator for the nonprofit organization; Emerge USA. Laila was born in Ramallah Palestine and is the second oldest of five children. She comes from a very diverse family, with her father being Palestinian and her mother being Russian. At the age of 21, Laila has accomplished more than anyone could have imagined at that age. She works for Emerge USA, a Florida based nonprofit that’s working to engage and empower the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American communities in the civic process. When she lived in Baltimore, she worked for her states representative. There Laila met some people who had the hope of creating a nonprofit here in Florida. Along with her family, she moved to Florida and started her first official job with Emerge USA. Laila wanted to make a difference in her community and inspire others to make a change and better themselves.
Laila is aware that out youth is headed down a bumpy road and she as always intended to do something about it. Her and her team were all on the same page and felt like they needed to take a big step in changing the fate of the younger community. They started a program called the Emerging leaders program. It’s a program to teach students how to become the leaders of tomorrow. They travel all over the state and gather tools that they will carry out through life. The students get the chance to go to Tallahassee and meet with their state representatives, and they also get to do community service projects.
Back in 2010 President Obama had a town hall meeting on human rights at the University of South Florida, that didn’t turn out to be what he expected. Laila was chosen to ask a question and she ended up confronting the President about the Israel/Palestine situation. She ask why the president hasn’t condemned Israel and Egypt’s human rights violation against the occupied Palestinian people because we continue to support them with millions of dollars from our tax money. The president was completely in shock and didn’t really end up answering her question. He began to stutter through his answer and stalls. He said that Israel is one of our strongest allies, and it’s not very different than from the U.S… He never ended up answering her question, which wasn’t surprising at all.
Laila Abdelaziz is seen as a powerful Muslim woman in the community with a strong voice and character. Laila says that her greatest strength is her ability to fight for what she believes is fair. She never backs down and she stays calm and collected. She finds serenity in her religion and she says that is what gets her through the day.