Senior and international student, Mariam Saad, poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan Universit, Saturday, March 25, 2017.”An empowered woman is a woman who knows what she wants and works hard to get it without letting any obstacles stand in her face. An empowered woman is a woman who has equal rights with any man and is capable of making a difference and change around her, and is doing so…empowerment is not exclusive for men or women, it is matter of character, a trait of hard working, of determination, of faith in yourself and self confidence,” states Mariam.
Say hello to our 11th #WomenofCMU, Mariam Saad. Mariam is a member and leader in the Muslim Student Association (MSA) here at Central Michigan University. I have had the honor of knowing Mariam for two years and she is someone who always brightens my day and has inspired me so much. MSA brings Muslim students together in a warm environment. They build connections and break barriers between students. They also raise awareness about Islam and try to get rid of some of the stereotypes and misconceptions around their faith.
“MSA was a home for me when I first came here. I didn’t know anyone and they welcomed me. I had a place to go, I had common ground between them, and I felt comfortable. At the same time it helped me build a relationship with so many people on the basis of raising awareness and spreading knowledge about Islam, which is something that I love,” Mariam explains.
MSA is an amazing organization on campus and they do such wonderful, inspiring and impactful things for CMU students. One of these was leading and organizing the march on campus this past Jan/Feb against the “Muslim Ban” that was being passed. This was such an emotional time because they had the support of so many people on campus. I know when I was there I saw tears in my friends eyes and I had to give her a hug and let her know that I will always have her back. Mariam lead chants and motivated the crowd through the cold. I was in awe of all that she was accomplishing and all that MSA was doing, it was beautiful.
“Organizing the march was a huge things and we didn’t actually expect it to have this outcome and turn out, but it turned out beautifully. We were working on it with our heart and souls, it touched each one of us personally. When we were working on it we tried to reach out to as much people as we know and more and more. During the march we were too emotional, too happy, too proud, and connected to everyone around us. It was amazing,” states Mariam.
Mariam is an international student from Lebanon. She is studying speech therapy and has great aspirations to do such amazing things with people. She graduates and leave the US this spring and I am so saddened that CMU will be absent of this amazing force of a woman.
“Islam is a religion of peace. It is a religion of beauty. I guess it is being misrepresented and people are seeing it in a very not realistic image…There are a lot of Muslim women who are not wearing a hijab, for me I am wearing a hijab. So, I am pretty clear what my religion is. The first thing they (people) see me wearing a hijab is that I am oppressed, I don’t have a choice, I am not that educated, I might be rolled by men, and all of these things, but it is not true. I am actually a person who is very educated, very independent, who works hard to get to her dreams…It is something that people get to know after they meet me,” Mariam explains.
Mariam continues to educate and change the way people think, little by little. She has made such a huge impact in my life and I know so many others, from MSA and around campus. I think Mariam is everything you want to see in an empowered woman. She is independent, proud, strong, and she doesn’t let anything stop her. I admire her so much for that.
“It is important for women to know that whatever is politically happening, that doesn’t mean they can change the way that they look at themselves or who they truly are, because they are powerful before that and will stay the same way after that. They need to know that they have enough power to actually make a difference and make a change of what people think about them. Maybe this political issue that is happening will help them (women) know the value that they have for themselves more, because no one would fight something they are not afraid of. For them to fight women, it means that they are afraid of them and this means that they (women) are really powerful. They (women) should know that the poor they have in a society is way beyond what they think they do…There are so many elements of society that wouldn’t on without women,” Mariam informs.
Thank you Mariam for everything you do for this campus, for MSA, and for women all around. You are an amazing soul and I am so proud to know you. Continue to break barriers and shut down stereotypes. I cannot wait to see all the great things you accomplish later in life. Thank you for leaving your stamp on this campus.