Two black women hopeful for change

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Young people in America have been making their voices heard on social media and at protests. Following the death of George Floyd, they’ve been calling for justice and an end to racism. This weekend, KELOLAND News sat down with two young black women who have faced discrimination for different reasons: gender, skin color and religion.

Iman Omar and Zouhera Mahamed are both black Muslim women who grew up in Sioux Falls.

“I have stereotypes coming at me from three different directions. As a female, as a black woman and as a Muslim. So just having those three strikes, you start thinking, am I even going to make it,” Iman Omar said.

“You’re already dealing a lot with being a Black woman, but now as a Black Muslim in America,” Zouhera Mahamed said.

Omar works as a nursing assistant.

“There was one time where I went to this patient’s room and the patient’s mother didn’t even give me a chance to introduce myself and told me that they don’t need housekeeping,” Omar said.

Mahamed is a 15-year-old high school student.

“Like, my mom, her English is pretty good, but if we ever go somewhere and somebody’s automatically like when you look at her you assume she doesn’t speak English so they’ll slow what they’re talking about and like dumb it down. That kind of bothers me but to her it doesn’t bother her, she won’t say ‘I speak English.’ So that’s like a form of subtle racism that we deal with a lot,” Mahamed said.

They’ve both participated in peaceful Sioux Falls protests calling for justice and an end to racism. They are both hopeful change is possible.

“I’m seeing like a lot of young ones advocate on social media. I’m glad because if this is the generation that’s going to bring us change, then I’m glad to be a part of Generation Z,” Mahamed said.

But it will take some education.

“If we get into those schools, if we get into youth programs, the Boys and Girls Club, all these little things, people will change in this country. I really do think that. No one is born racist, no one. It’s not humanly possible, it’s not possible to just grow up with hate like that,” Omar said.

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