IGNITE is delighted to introduce Munira Abdullahi as the Columbus, Ohio fellow in IGNITE's 2021-2022 fellowship cohort. We spoke with Munira to discuss her experiences as a rising leader in Columbus and the year ahead.
IGNITE: Welcome to the IGNITE community, Munira! We are so excited you are serving as the next Columbus fellow! What called you to this role?
MA: As a young woman of color deeply passionate about social inequities within society, I resonate with the values and mission of IGNITE. Whether it came from my work as a Youth Director for MAS or as a volunteer for Muslim Women for Biden, I became emboldened to live out my principles in action. It's incredibly gratifying to have the chance to work with an organization that has a need for a person like me with my background, identities, and skills.
IGNITE: Our lived experiences and unique experiences define our leadership! Thank you for sharing. Speaking of leadership, how have you flexed your political power?
MA: I have extensive non-profit leadership experience and advocacy experience. I'm honored to have the prospect of being a fellow of IGNITE, an organization that can develop my skills while allowing me to do what I'm really passionate about: meeting the direct needs of the communities I care about most - low-income BIPOC - through political engagement and leadership.
IGNITE: We love your passion! IGNITE's mission is centered on boosting civic engagement in communities across the country to build the next generation of young women leaders in politics. Tell us about why civic engagement is important to you.
MA: A lack or abundance of civic engagement is reflected back onto the communities in the way decisions are made regarding those communities, how much funding they receive etc. I believe increasing civic engagement will help reduce some of the policy issues affecting marginalized communities in America.
IGNITE: How will you work to increase civic engagement in Columbus and beyond?
MA: Similar to how we mobilized our communities around social justice issues - via education and visibility. We can mobilize and excite our communities by making them aware of IGNITE's opportunities and resources and how it will benefit them directly.
IGNITE: That sounds like a great plan! Let's talk more about leadership. What does leadership mean to you?
MA: Leadership is the ability to organize and influence groups using a variety of different skills. Leadership is characterized by an ability to take action when needed, regardless if you are the only one doing so. It is also finding a way to move and direct people in your teams/communities by being personable, honest, and displaying your values with integrity.
IGNITE: How do you bring those values into your advocacy?
MA: I show leadership in my work by valuing the people that allow me to lead them and showing them what they are capable of. I also show leadership in my work by continuing to grow and educate myself in order to fulfill the needs of my team or community in the most effective manner.
IGNITE: At IGNITE, we're trying to broaden the definition of what it means to be a political leader. It's so much more than just being an elected leader. Political leaders can also be community organizers, policymakers, and campaign staffers. What leadership role do you identify with, and how do you want that to play out in your political career?
MA: A Non-profit director. In this type of leadership role, you must motivate and innovate more than most. It requires all of your effort and compassion. A political leader with non-profit skills would value partnerships, create opportunities for valuable change and increase collaboration for problem-solving like no other.
IGNITE: Munira, any closing comments to add?
MA: Only that I'm excited to see what IGNITE will teach me in the course of this fellowship! I'm looking forward to the critical work ahead of me, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to do it as an IGNITE Fellow. Thank you
More about Munira
Bio coming soon!