Heba Jamal

Activist, MAS Youth Director, NY

Hebh Jamal is an activist who, in February, organized a New York City-wide student walk-out in protest of President Donald Trump’s attempted travel ban. For two years prior to the walk-out, she’s become a leader in the fight against Islamophobia, speaking at high schools, rallies, and organizing protests. Hebh’s work has been covered by the likes of Vice, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, and Chalkbeat. She’s also a student.

Hebh was a nominee for the 2017 RFK Urban Education Student award to whom we are giving special recognition becausewe knew she had an interesting story to tell about student commitment to social justice. She told us about a 10th grade global history teacher who impacted her, a teacher who “essentially taught us the importance of empathy through the Enlightenment. He asked “what does it mean to be a human?” She explains that, from there, the class moving forward was about the different struggles of people, underscoring the idea that no one was better than the other. That mindset has certainly manifested itself in her work, about which Hebh tells us: “Education equity means everything to me. I won’t stop until all NYC public schools are benefiting every NYC student. I won’t stop till NYC schools aren’t segregated anymore.”