The MuslimARC network of racial justice experts spans the United States. Learn more about our speakers and trainers below.
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Margari Hill, Co-Director - Southern California
Margari Aziza Hill is an adjunct professor, blogger, editor, and freelance writer. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of MuslimARC, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative, an organization focusing on Education for Liberation. After converting to Islam in 1993, her life experiences as a Black American woman have informed her research and writing on Islam, education, race, and gender. She has nearly a decade of teaching experiences at all levels and has worked in education at various capacities. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History from Santa Clara University in 2003 and master’s in History of the Middle East and Islamic Africa from Stanford University in 2006. She has given talks and lectures in various universities and community centers throughout the country.
Namira Islam, Co-Director - Metro Detroit
Namira Islam is a Bangladeshi-American lawyer and graphic designer. Based in Michigan, she is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), a faith-based racial justice education organization. Her legal background includes work in prisoners’ rights litigation, international human rights law, and poverty law. She has written for multiple publications, delivered lectures and trainings throughout the United States, and provided commentary and analysis on identity, current events, and social justice narratives for radio shows, documentary films, and other media worldwide. You can follow her on Twitter @namirari.
Ernst Fenelon Jr., Speaker - Southern California
Ernst Fenelon Jr. is a facilitator, moderator, and motivational public speaker. He is the Senior Program Coordinator for the Prison Education Project (PEP) and the former Program Coordinator for PEP-Uganda, programs that enhance the educational experiences of inmates and parolees while equipping them with practical “real world” tools for successful reintegration. Ernst has been one of the facilitators for “Trust Talks“and is the current moderator for the YWCA Pasadena “Talking the Talk” series. Ernst has appeared on or been heard in radio, television, podcasts, and newspaper articles, including on NPR, Al-Jazeera America, and Pasadena Now. His life story was featured in the “Believe & Inspire” section of the Juicy Highlights internet magazine. Ernst provides a unique perspective to the prison education, reintegration, and rehabilitation conversation given 25 years of experience with the California prison system, which includes once being an inmate himself. His website is www.ernstfenelonjr.com.
Asha Mohamood Noor, Speaker - Metro Detroit
Asha Noor is a racial justice and human rights advocate who served her community, and other marginalized groups for the last ten years. Noor currently is the Programming and Outreach Director at CAIR-MI for Safe Spaces, the largest Muslim civil rights organization. She worked both domestically and abroad in conflict zones with marginalized communities, including women, afro-indigenous groups, refugees, religious minorities and trauma victims. She holds a MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and BA in Political Science from Michigan State University.
Sahar Pirzada, Speaker - Southern California
Sahar Pirzada is a Pakistani-American Muslim woman from the Bay Area and is currently a Master of Social Work candidate at the University of Southern California. She is a former fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute under the Women’s Foundation of California and was the Youth Development Manager at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area chapter. She currently continues her activism challenging Islamophobia as a Steering Committee member of #VigilantLOVE where she carries out public education workshops, policy advocacy and creative organizing.
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Trainer - Philadelphia
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow is an educator with over ten years of experience teaching youth and providing professional development. She has earned a Bachelors in Education from Temple University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She is motivated by her belief in education as a means of achieving equity, social justice, and community empowerment and she currently works as a Curriculum & Instruction leader and teacher at Girard College, a boarding school that serves low income youth. Jamilah is a 2016 AMEL Fellow of MuslimARC.
Layla Abdullah-Poulos, Trainer - New York
Layla Abdullah-Poulos is adjunct faculty at SUNY Empire State College. She holds an MA in Liberal Studies and an advanced certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Abdullah-Poulos is the project manager for NbA Muslims, a cultural project highlighting the heritages, experiences, and cultural productions of native-born American Muslims of African American, Indigenous, Latinx, and European descent. She also serves as a New York Trainer for the MuslimARC and a US Correspondent for AboutIslam.
Former MuslimARC Trainers: