Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 


My name is Amina, I am a 22-year-old Black, Muslim woman and would describe myself as a passionate, caring, and creative person who loves working with young people and contributing to positive and effective social change in the world. I am a photographer, a writer, a coach, a youth mentor and facilitator. Most importantly, I coach and teach young people the things I love, such as sports and photography which makes me love these things even more.


I also love trying out new things, experiencing new places and meeting new people as I feel there’s always something to learn and always somewhere to grow as a person.


Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.


Growing up in a low-income, single parent household was never easy especially as a Black, Muslim woman. There would be a lot of emotions I’d have to hold onto because of the loss I had experienced, I had a lot of anger and sadness in me so I turned to sport– specifically soccer and track and field. However, playing sports also came with it many challenges as I would always be one of the only visible Muslim women playing with a hijab. While my teammates and opponents typically wore their hair in buns, I had my hair wrapped; while they wore short sleeves, I always wore long-sleeves and while they wore shorts, I wore pants or tights underneath my shorts. There’s no question about it, there would always be stares and giggles, and side-comments, but when I got on the field, on the track or on the court, all I saw was the game; these places became my safe-haven. I remember people always being shocked when I would come first in 1500m run, top 5 in cross country and be named the captain of my senior soccer teams.


How did you overcome that barrier? What skills did you develop in sport that helped you overcome your barrier?


I never let the negativity that I was surrounded by affect me as a person, instead I let them fuel me. I always spoke up, I was confident in myself and my abilities because I knew I loved the feeling I would get when I played. I knew I could take out my anger on the ball, run further and release all the feelings of sadness, I knew it was my experiences that pushed me to want to be the best I could be as an athlete, and most importantly, as a person. I never saw my intersectional identity as something to be sad about, I never wanted anyone to pity me, I loved, love and always will love and take pride in being different and standing out, in being a Black, Muslim woman.


Playing sports helped me overcome my barriers because it instilled in me a sense of confidence, a sense of resiliency and motivation. Playing sports taught me the importance of believing in yourself and your abilities, in striving to be the best version of yourself in owning my voice, in never giving up and in

standing up for myself. I always tell people that had I not played sports for the amount of years I did, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t have the confidence I have now. The things I’ve learned in sport are not only long-lasting but they are transferable to my everyday life and for that I am eternally grateful.


If you had one word to describe your character, experiences or philosophy what would it be? Why?




I think that’s one of the most important things to hold onto as a person with an intersectional identity as a woman, a young person of colour, and a Muslim, because there’s a lot of things that you will experience in life that will make you question yourself and your identity. Despite the obstacles that came my way, I never ever gave up on myself or what I love. There’s a lot of things that will make you ask yourself whether you are worthy enough, whether you should silence yourself, whether you should just give up, or maybe, “this might not be for you.” However, despite these odds, and despite the many challenges I’ve faced in my 22 years of life, I was able to grow stronger because of them. They say that what you experience helps shape you, helps you become more equipped for the goodness that awaits you. I like to see my challenges and the barriers I face as a blessing because without them I wouldn’t have learned the things I know now, I wouldn’t be able to practice empathy and most importantly I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.


If you wanted to motivate a young female athlete to #BuildHerUp, what quote would you use? Why?


“You may not control all the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou


I would use this quote because I feel that in life you will be faced with many challenges and barriers but you can never let them reduce you as a person. I am a huge advocate in standing firm in your identity and being proud of how you look, and of your faith. I feel that when you are grounded nothing can shake you, almost like a root of a tree, you stand firm and remind people of strength and of beauty, and above all, you inspire others to do the same.