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Muslim Youth Leadership Intensive

September 17 @ 9:30 am - 6:00 pm


Calling all high school students! Are you interested in advocating for change within your school? Do you want to organize your local community? Then the Muslim Youth Leadership Intensive is where you need to be this September!

MYLI is an annual one-day intensive designed to teach high school students the skills they need to create long-lasting change within their communities. The event is a day-long program that will encourage students to delve deeper into the individual impact that they can have on their communities through leadership trainings, debate competitions, spoken word performances, and more. Space is limited! Register today: bit.ly/MYLI2022

Halema Wali is a first-generation Afghan-American passionate about social justice and grassroots community organizing. She graduated from Rutgers University-Newark with a Bachelors in Political Science and Biology. Halema is the co-founder of the Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress (ADEP), the Shia Racial Justice Coalition (SRJC) and Afghans For A Better Tomorrow (AFBT). Her work emphasizes building community through the lens of justice and working collaboratively with allied organizations to advocate for her community. Her organizing work and advocacy has been featured on BBC, NowThis, Al-Jazeera, LATimes, WSJ and other media outlets.

Ibrahim Muhammad Heshaam Jaaber is a former professional basketball player, author, spoken word poet, teacher, mentor and student of knowledge. He is currently the youth director at IECPA (Islamic Educational Center of PA).

Naureen Akhter was born in Bangladesh, raised in Queens, NY and currently resides in Livingston, NJ. She received her degree in Physics from Barnard College and worked at an international development consulting firm upon graduation. But life took some unexpected turns: a global recession, early parenthood, a small food blog turned custom cake business, then of course, the election of Donald Trump. It was soon after the Muslim Ban that Naureen started having conversations with friends, fellow Muslim Americans, about our longer term strategy to have a voice in our democracy. They started a grassroots organization called Muslims for Progress, to educate Muslim Americans and increase our civic engagement. She did a community organizing fellowship for faith leaders with the Interfaith Center of NY, and began volunteering for a candidate for Congress: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. After her historic primary victory, she began working for the Congresswoman full time and currently serves as her District Director – overseeing her district offices, casework operation and in district outreach initiatives.


Tisha is the Bilingual Community Relations Specialist in New Jersey Division on Civil Rights’ Community Relations Unit. A second-generation Latinx Hudson County native and a first-generation college graduate earning their undergraduate and graduate degrees in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law Enforcement Administration from New Jersey City University. Tisha has been a brother of the Alpha Phi Omega National Co-ed Community Service Fraternity, Inc. since Spring 2008 serving as Alpha Gamma Sigma Chapter President from December 2008 to August 2011; Community Service & Greek Week Lead Chairperson for the University’s Greek Senate. In 2017, Tisha joined DCR as a Bilingual Investigator in the Enforcement Unit, served as the bilingual subject matter expert for the New Jersey Bias Investigation Access System (NJBIAS) Project that launched in November 2020, and now serves as the Statewide NJBIAS Community Liaison for the online complaint portal. They proudly serve as an Executive Committee member of the Employee Resource Group – The Alliance, Member on the DCR Anti-Racism Employee Resource Group, DCR Designated Representative on the Human Relations Council, and member of the Law & Public Safety Diversity Council. Tisha is based in Newark, and primary counties are Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Union. Tisha leads their unit’s strategic planning and programming initiatives on breastfeeding, pregnancy, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national origin, nationality, ancestry, and religion (Islam). Tisha serves as the subject matter expert on Youth, Higher Education, Prisons and Policing, Latino/a/x, LGBTQI+, Muslim and Immigrant communities. They also serve as the DCR Youth Ambassador Program Coordinator.

Program Itinerary:

  • 9:30 am – 10:00 am: Registration and Breakfast
  • 10: 00 am – 11:00 am: Introductions
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Keynote Speakers Panel with Naureen Akhter and Halema Wali
  • 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Thuhr Prayer and Lunch
  • 12:45 pm – 3:00pm: Debate
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: What Would YOU do? Segment
  • 4:00 pm – 4:15 pm: Asr Prayer and Snack Break
  • 4:15 pm – 4:45 pm: Entertainment with Ibrahim Jaaber
  • 4:45 pm – 5:15 pm: Youth Ambassador Presentation
  • 5:15 pm – 5:45 pm: Know Your Rights Presentation
  • 5:45 pm – 6:00 pm: Closing Remarks and Debate Awards


September 17
9:30 am - 6:00 pm