African-American Stories

In honor of Black History Month, MALA would like to highlight some of the compelling stories we have collected from the African-American community.

Browse the collection of individuals’ stories below. If you would like to participate in share your story with MALA, here is information on how to submit your story and apply to participate in a recording session.



Abdikarim Osman: Never Give Up

“In 2005, my life was unbearable. I was in a refugee camp in Kenya, in high school and short of everything. From that day I told myself I’d never give up on life. And here I am today. A father to three children, a husband, and studying to pursue a degree in business management.”

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Mariam Atobiloye: Reaching Beyond Material Things

“To me, being in the world without making an impact on at least one person, is like living a life without a purpose. Money and riches can make you famous, but a good name lives way longer than those material things.”

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Mohammadou Habib Abdul Abbas Diagne: Being Labeled As A Threat

“It was definitely a point when I began to experience not being in a fully immersed Muslim culture, or not being around the influence of my Dad. That’s the first time I started eating bacon, and you know, kind of pushing the envelope and exploring what it meant to not be in that immersive environment.”

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Barakat Olorunoje: No Limits As A Woman

“My journey begins at a younger age when I realized that I had a lot to my identity. My parents are originally from Nigeria and I was born in America, which already gave me two types of identities.”

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Aisha Subair: The Path Towards Self Acceptance

“At a point, I wanted to be American so bad. It took me a little bit to accept me being Nigerian and Muslim. I went to back Nigeria in 2012. And, things were very different.”

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Kareem Devanté Rose: Rising Above the Scars

“I love being different. I love having physical and emotional scars. I love me. I don’t need to hide certain parts of myself to fit in with a specific crowd anymore.”

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Abdirizak Bihi: Community Development in Action

“Especially when you come from a dictatorship, and war, and religious extremism, and you come to a country where you have the right to worship whatever you want, the right to live in diverse society.”

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Sadiya Hassan: Feeling Proud Now More Than Ever Before

“I am an African-Arab born Muslim woman from California and if I choose to marry a white revert, all I should be hearing is people being happy and congratulating me.”

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Leah Vernon: Being Seen and Heard

“I’m the unseen. The lost and broken. I’m the minority who is buried under media outlets like Fox News and CNN. You don’t see us on the cover of American magazines or hear the pleas of our communities.”

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Turiya Abdur-Raheem: The Perfect Pious People

“Many more Muslims live here than when we first became Muslims. There are many more schools, stores, associations, conferences, conventions, inter-faith groups, even a college. Young Muslims really don’t have to go overseas anymore unless they happen to want that experience.”

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