RISE was created in 2016 by a group of Muslim women who were frustrated with the rise of anti-Muslim harassment and hate crimes, as well as with how Muslim women were being portrayed in the media. Malika Dahir, the organization’s new executive director, says RISE is on a mission to amplify the voice and power of Muslim women.
“How do we do this? We have different programs and different platforms through civic engagement,” she explained. “So, not only encouraging and spearheading sisters to be able to vote but also taking them and hopefully being able to hold elected officials accountable. And through leadership training. We have various programs including during the pandemic we did a session at home where we delved into economic empowerment.”
RISE had its annual Muslim Women’s Leadership Conference at the end of July. The conference is a space for Muslim women to network while sharing their stories and skills.
“One of the most memorable things that I learned from that was our keynote speaker's address,” said Malika. “Actually taking ownership and agency over the direction of her life and choosing to walk away from a career where she was in demand and choosing herself - what better message to send to our sisters, right?”
Malika says that more high school and college students are becoming involved with RISE, either through mentorship, leadership, or volunteering. She hopes to see RISE expand outside of the Twin Cities and into other states, where such organizations may not exist.
“I'm invested in the success of the organization, I'm invested in reaching as many sisters as possible branching into other states, and having other cohorts build-up,” she said.