ItemKaty Murdza Interview(2023-06-06) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Katy Murdza, the Texas regional organizer for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, in Houston, TX. Katy describes her start in immigration activism during college, her work at a detention center through the Dilley Pro Bono Project, and her work with SA Stand Coalition and Houston Leads. She compares life in the places she has lived and also recalls her travels, including being in the Peace Corps in Panama. Katy describes the connections between the causes she organizes for and believes in, such as immigration reform, abolition, and transit. ItemHadi Jawad Interview(2023-04-05) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Hadi Jawad, an activist in Dallas, TX. Hadi shares memories of growing up in Pakistan and coming to the US for college. He talks about his business and how he began activism work against US military involvement in Iraq. Hadi describes the impacts of post-9/11 Islamophobia on his community and his own interactions with the FBI. ItemSamira Abed Interview(2023-05-18) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Samira Abed, a Palestinian-American businesswoman living in Florida. Samira describes her youth in Brazil, her time in Palestine, and her immigration to the US after her marriage. She talks about raising her family in Texas and becoming a businesswoman. Samira shares about a car accident that left one of her sons permanently disabled and talks about how this affected her family. She also discusses her family’s experiences of Islamophobia after 9/11 and her relationship with Islam today. ItemVan Wagner Interview(2023-04-11) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Van Wagner, IDCL’s Community Archive Director, in Austin, TX. Van talks about growing up in a military family, moving around, and living in conservative Christian culture in Georgia. They describe their experiences in high school and college, including music, religious studies, and involvement in a student organization. Van discusses their relationship to Texas, especially as a queer person with a Jewish partner. They also describe their current life and musical involvement. ItemElizabeth Melton Interview(2023-04-13) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Elizabeth Melton, the public engagement director at IDCL, from Crumpler, NC. Elizabeth describes her childhood in Longview, TX, where she was surrounded by her extended family with deep ties to public education and the Presbyterian Church (USA). She shares how her childhood involvement in theater eventually led to her PhD in performance studies. Elizabeth talks about her experience of the Texas Freeze of 2021. She also discusses her complicated relationship to Texas as both a beloved home and site of political strife. ItemSarah Aburumuh Interview(2023-03-14) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Sarah Aburumuh, a high school teacher in San Antonio, TX. Sarah describes growing up in her large Muslim family, memories of 9/11, and her decision to put on the hijab in middle school. She talks about her experiences as a teacher, especially with regards to race, religion, and teaching diversity. Sarah shares about being seen as a representative of Islam because of her hijab and talks about her approaches to prejudice. She also talks about her inspirations and influences. ItemAhmad Kaki Interview(2022-12-21) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Ahmad Kaki, a legal assistant and law student in Arlington, VA. Ahmad describes growing up Palestinian and Muslim in Texas and how his life changed after 9/11. He talks about his college experiences of involvement in the Muslim Students Association and pro-Palestine organizing. Ahmad shares the trajectory of his career, which brought him to law school and his current work as a legal assistant with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. ItemTinny Widjaja Interview(2021-02-06) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Tinny Widjaja, a Chinese-Indonesian immigrant and political and interfaith activist living in Austin, TX. Tinny talks about growing up Chinese in Indonesia, and the discrimination she and her family faced there, as well as her decision to leave the country. She describes working abroad, meeting her African-American husband in Singapore, and moving to the US after having a son. Tinny shares how she went from politically ambivalent to politically active in the wake of the George Floyd protests, in hopes of making a safer world for her son. ItemWalter Celestine Interview(2020-10-29) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Walter Celestine, Program Director of the Native American Employment Training Program at the American Indian Center of Houston, who is from the Alabama-Coushatta reservation in Livingston, Texas. Walter discusses the history of the reservation, their traditional practices, and finally, integrating with society off of the reservation. The First Indian Baptist church was created by Walter’s family and the reservation has changed significantly. He speaks to the importance of dispelling stereotypes of Native American culture and taking care of Mother Earth. He also speaks to the challenges the Alabama-Coushatta community have faced through the COVID-19 pandemic. ItemMeenal McNary Interview(2021-04-28) Institute for Diversity & Civic Life; Department of Religious StudiesThis interview is with Dr. Meenal McNary, a first-generation Indian-American dentist and local activist in Round Rock, TX. Meenal discusses the contrast between the goal of assimilation when she was growing up and the goal of instilling in her children senses of pride in and connection to Indian culture today. She talks about her racial equity work with the local government and Round Rock ISD, in which she advocates for the safety and dignity of Black and Brown children. Meenal also talks about her time serving as a dentist in the US army and the importance of building trusting relationships with her patients.