2020 - ALABAMA
Sarah Arafat is a senior at Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama. Sarah serves as senior class president as well as president of her school's Interfaith Club. As she came to the realization that her community needed a better understanding of how vital race relations is to a successful community, she decided to speak to a group of mentors and mentees from all races and backgrounds. The focus of her panel was to increase dialogue on how racial perceptions are often misconceptions which can cause people to overlook truly gifted students and leaders, and that racial diversity is in fact a very good thing for a strong civic minded community. She had panelists answer questions about the realities of being a minority in today’s climate as well as discussing the same topics herself. A panel of this sort was the first of its kind to open the dialogue on this topic, and was followed throughout the semester with other events in the community. Sarah also spoke at the very first Women's March in Huntsville about being a minority student and how justice for all, in terms of race, is relevant when voting in government elections. Growing up as a Muslim minority in a predominantly conservative area, Sarah says she "saw racial discrimination in day-to-day life." She goes on to say that, "Every vote that goes toward a representative who stands for racial equality is a win in terms of democratic duty and racial justice."