(Screenshot via YouTube)
This is part of "Leaders of Color" month of the Generocity Editorial Calendar. Find the series here.
Today, Yasmine Mustafa is able to call herself a successful social entrepreneur and technologist. Twenty-six years ago, though, she was a Kuwaiti child fearing for her life in a bomb shelter as Iraqi explosives fell around her.
Needless to say, the life she lives today can seem almost unimaginable at times — not just because she and her family were transplanted to Philadelphia that day by U.S. operatives, but because she might have never had the opportunity to accomplish what she has if she had stayed in the Middle East.
She was given the opportunity to swap out her “birth lottery ticket” — traits and circumstances such as gender, race, health and economic status that ultimately determine who we are able to become and what we are able to accomplish — for another.
The ROAR for Good cofounder talks about the experience in her TEDxPhiladelphia talk. The presentation is becoming increasingly relevant as we inch toward a heated Presidential election where one candidate’s bigoted rhetoric has contributed to the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment.
Mustafa’s presentation is a reminder that Americans — no matter the race nor socioeconomic status — are born with privileges many people outside the U.S. are never granted. Her American citizenship is something she takes pride in. It’s something she actively celebrates.
It’s something other people take for granted.
“I can’t help but think about what my life would have been like if we had never come here,” she said in the talk. “I was given a chance to transform my birth lottery ticket, and I did.”-30-
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