Adib Rabbani

2021 – KANSAS (KANSAS CITY REGION)

Adib Rabbani is a sophomore at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri. He started the Social Justice Club for middle school students at his school to help youth experience the joy of learning about other people and their ways of life and how an open and welcoming attitude towards diversity can advance racial equity and social justice. The club started in a classroom setting with 10 participants, but it moved to an online format with participants joining from around the US and abroad when the pandemic hit. Currently, youth from Brazil, Peru, Rwanda, Mexico, and the US meet bi-weekly over Zoom to reflect on the meaning of human dignity, how racism is an obstacle towards the experience of oneness, and why sacrifice and humility are needed to build unity across races and cultures. Adib initially led the conversations, but middle school participants and high school students soon joined forces to facilitate the online meetings. Together they also offered two one-week Social Justice Summer Camps to over 60 children from around the world. The club, moreover, organizes hands-on social projects. During the height of the pandemic, it purchased hundreds of washable masks for refugee and immigrant families in Kansas City, furnished cleaning products for the families of garbage collectors in Brazil, and assisted with the cost of repairing the roof of a local shelter. This experience has helped Adib and the other participants to move beyond the passive acceptance of people's differences and find value and purpose in the diversity that exists at their school and community. Adib also learned creative ways to motivate younger students to participate in in-depth reflections by sharing responsibilities. Together they organized an International Art for Social Justice Contest, where the middle school participants helped judge the over 200 submissions they received. For these conversations to continue and expand, middle schoolers are learning how to design and teach social justice lessons. To raise funds for the club's social projects, Adib created the "Just Art" Facebook page, where children and youth can display and donate their artwork.