Mawahib Ismail

2019 – WASHINGTON STATE

Mawahib Ismail is a senior at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline. She is a Senior Leadership Council Member in her school's Black Student Union. When Mawahib moved from West Seattle to Shoreline, she noticed that kids and teachers alike were not as open or comfortable about talking race, especially considering that black students only make up 13% of the Shoreline School District. During her freshman year, Mawahib went to her first BSU meeting and there were only five students in attendance. Even though Mawahib was disappointed by the lack of support, she attended every week. In her sophomore year, she applied for the senior leadership position, and she and four other students earned that position. Mawahib wanted all of Shorecrest to start talking about race, so for her first meeting as senior leadership, she invited everyone to come and talk about race relations. That meeting, the BSU went from 5 students to 65 students in one arts classroom and ever since has consistently drawn 40-50 students from many different backgrounds. Mawahib helped create a race and equity forum to continue the conversation about the impact of race relations. Mawahib has also served as a Youth Outreach Leader. Her YOL group created an event with the Shoreline Police about their involvement with youth. Mawahib spoke at city hall in front of the mayor, many residents of Shoreline, and the council board. Shoreline, especially its community of color, has always had a tumultuous relationship with the police. This event helped shed light on issues and facilitated conversation with multi-generational groups of people. Now it is a monthly forum and has created a city buzz.