Dare to be Daring: Thasfia Chowdhury on Activism

 

Thasfia Chowdhury may be young, but she is a rising star in Geneseo’s activist scene. She has never been afraid to stand up or speak out. In high school, as a member of the organization Girls Write Now, Thasfia worked to empower women as a writing mentee. For her work, Thasfia was accepted to serve as a leadership fellow on the Sadie Nash Leadership Project where she started her own summer program for young girls of color in Queens, NYC. On campus, Thasfia is a tutor for Geneseo’s Access Opportunity Program (AOP), which works to bridge education gaps in students who come from less privileged backgrounds. She is also an active member of Student Senate and works for Geneseo Late Knight — an on-campus organization which helps promote and develop events for the student body to participate in. Currently, Thasfia is working to provide college aid to young, high school seniors in support of Muslim women in NYC. Above all, Thasfia understands the effects of marginalization and believes that it is of the utmost importance to address and combat any attempts at oppressing groups — especially those which are already vulnerable.  

Tell us about yourself — what should we know about you Thasfia? 

Well, we can start with the basics. I am a sophomore studying Political Science on the Pre-Law track. I am a young woman of color, a Muslim, an immigrant from Bangladesh and a New Yorker. Identity is often multi-faceted — I can be many things. I can be anything so I choose to be everything.

Why did you choose to come to Geneseo? 

I chose SUNY Geneseo because it was welcoming, warm and fit my line of interests. The faculty are empathetic — they care immensely about their students. The students are fiercely passionate when it comes to community and self-development. This was absolutely a choice on my part. I knew what I wanted in a school, knew what I wanted from a school and Geneseo aligned well with my interests. 

What are some of these interests? What kinds of activities are you involved in on campus? 

Honestly, I want nothing less than global reform, but change always begins somewhere. Change begins with you, it begins with me, coming together to call out injustice wherever and whenever. Sometimes, yes, this means launching a viral campaign on unacknowledged wrongs such as the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, but most of the time, change comes in smaller iterations — offering kindness to a friend in need, listening. People often mistake activism for some kind of pyramid scheme, but the truth is championing for causes on-campus can mean as much as any speech delivered at the United Nations. 

That said, I try and make sure my impact on Geneseo is as meaningful as possible. I am a proud member of the MSA (Muslim Students Association), IYSSE (International Youth & Students for Social Equality) and Geneseo Late Knight. I am an AOP (Access Opportunity Programs) tutor — assisting students from historically underserved backgrounds in adjusting to university life. I am also a member of the Student Senate as a member of the Diversity Committee. 

What are you passionate about — what pushes you forward? 

Social justice, the deconstruction of capitalism and the revolution of the working class — to put it briefly. Essentially, I hope to leave behind a world that is better than the one I inherited. 

There is so much division in our current political climate, in our country. A lot of this conflict stems from class disparities. How are laborers supposed to motivate themselves if they are never compensated fairly? Everyone is human, whether he or she has a net worth of 100 or 100 million — let us not forget this salient truth. 

Who inspires you? 

My mother, Ella Baker, women who dare to be daring. Poor women, incarcerated women — women who do not have wealth, cannot afford to be anyone other than themselves. Women who are themselves naturally and fearlessly — these are the women I look up to. 

What future do you hope for? 

I want a future where all kinds of women are coming together, demanding rights and revolutionizing a profoundly oppressive system which does not care for them. A future that is intersectional, fair and free. Honestly, that is really I could ever ask for. 

Follow Thasfia on TwitterInstagram and view her work at Girls Write Now

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