Shukri Abdirahman Submitted photo

My name is Shukri Abdirahman. I am 21 years old and a student at the University of Maine at Farmington. I am an activist, a refugee, and most importantly, Somali Bantu. I immigrated to the United States in 2009.

The people in the refugee camp fantasized about America and how one day, they could possibly immigrate to the land of endless opportunities. People did not have money to get meals, but the money they managed to get went towards watching television consumed of American movies. People in the refugee camp are filled with hopes of one day living in the American movies they’ve watched over a hundred times. America was a land of possibilities, dreams, and love.

When my family resettled in Lewiston, Maine we expected people living in lavish lifestyles and justice. Unfortunately, we were welcomed by poverty and struggling whites who did not seem as different from us. They lived in the lead infested, broken and dangerous apartment complex on Knox St. in Lewiston, Maine. My parents refused to live in that kind of environment and worked endlessly to move to a better environment.

One thing I found fascinating was how a person who is as poor as me could call me the N word? I was shocked at first because I grew up with people who looked like me. When a racist person approached, they assumed I would be afraid of them because this is their country and I am not welcome. I have never been afraid of a white person because I truly believe they do not have any superiority over me nor do I have superiority over them.

Seeing people come together and stand up for what they believe is truly right and just and has me feeling this hope and wondering if one day racism and discrimination really could end?

Racism is the biggest infectious disease in the United States of America. Since slavery up to now, racism has been the fuel to unjustly massacre African Americans in this country. America seems to progress, but the sad truth is reform is not change. Every generation or era we see that the racial inequalities in this country shift but do they actually change?

We see that black people have rights and privileges they did not have prior but we also see that black people in this country are victims of mass incarceration which is the new Jim Crow. Jim Crow advanced to meet new societal standards. In the Land of Dreams, I will be discussing topics such as racism, feminism, diversity, progress.

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