Keywords: Oral History, (Im)migration, Somalia, Egypt, Somali American, Family, Community, Community building/organizing, UWEAST, Youth, School, Education, Culture, Ramadan, COVID-19
I am immensely grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know Faiza Warsame, program coordinator of United Women of East Africa (UWEAST) during my time in ETHN 12OD: Race and Oral Histories. Thank you, Faiza, for all of your incredible efforts- in and out of UWEAST- and for taking the time to sit down with me for this interview.
A bit about Faiza: Faiza is currently twenty-three years old and resides in San Diego, California. Of many things, she is extremely passionate about being involved, engaging, and working alongside her resilient community- especially with the youth. Born in Somalia and raised by her empowering mother, her, her mother, and her two siblings all moved to Egypt when Faiza was ten years old. After living in Egypt for a couple of years, Faiza and her family immigrated to the United States to continue their life journey. Upon arriving to the U.S., Faiza and her family had to learn how to adapt and grow in a completely new country and environment, one that has not always been so compassionate and accommodating. Through community building and organizing, Faiza and her community have been able to navigate various obstacles and create an inclusive space focused on offering support and guidance to all.
This interview was conducted on Wednesday, May 6th of 2020 over Zoom, in order to ensure everyone’s safety and to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, this interview covers topics such as: (Im)migration, Refugee, Inequality, Community, Community Building/Organizing, Ramadan, and Covid-19. More specifically, this interview will highlight Faiza’s migration journey, the obstacles and inequalities she and her community endured (and continues to endure) throughout their migration experience and living within the U.S., her involvement with UWEAST, as well as detailing what life and Ramadan looks like for her and her organization, amidst the Covid- 19 pandemic.
The interview was conducted by myself, LeAnn Le, a second-year Sociology major and Ethnic Studies minor at the University of California, San Diego. I had the great pleasure of becoming acquainted with Faiza through my Ethnic Studies 120D course, to which my groupmates and I were partnered to learn and work with her and UWEAST. We specifically got to spend time *virtually* with the kids and would meet with Faiza and our group of phenomenal students every Monday and Wednesday over Zoom to do fun, interactive learning activities together. I will hold the memories and all that I learned through this experience with me for the rest of my life.