Next St. Louis speaker

Arica Brown

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March 31, 9:00am • T-REX • part of a series on Courage

Courage is often act of humanity, choosing to take an action that is risky because it demands vulnerability and curiosity. Meet Yusra and Sadia Ali, two Muslim American Women (sisters and best teammates) who created Missouri’s First ever, Muslim American Art Exhibition. Yusra Ali is a native St. Louisian who always had a passion for art. She grew up struggling with speech impediments and rarely ever talked as a kid. Which is how she described her art became her voice, and ultimately, the catalyst for her advocacy of Muslims rights and recognition. 

Yusra studies Islamic Sciences and Psychology and is currently researching a scientific approach on interpreting art where it is utilized as a tool to enhance the conceptualization of realities. With her research she aims to contribute new definitions and ideas on Islamic Art.

As an artist, Yusra utilizes a variety of mediums to create her pieces such as: pottery, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, and painting. Her artwork ranges from cultural and religious inspiration, to nature, surrealism, and abstract art. Her theme of art has always been inspiration and courage. Her concern was to always manifest deeper meaning through art since it was her best voice for communication.  

In early 2017, she and her sister Sadia teamed up to curate Missouri’s first American Muslim Art Exhibition, featuring several local Muslim-artists. Their idea behind the exhibition was to introduce a new category of American art: American Muslim. Their goal with creating Missouri’s first American Muslim Art Exhibition was to challenge the stereotypes associated with Muslims and prove how unity can be achieved through diversity. We think this is uber courageous and this is why they are in our Spotlight as Courageous St. Louis Creatives worth being honored! Happy Women’s History Month! Photo Credit: A. Bshara

Throughout the Month of March CreativeMornings St. Louis will be honoring Women’s History Month by spotlighting four courageous women who are making history through doing creative things in our community!

Our first Spotlight falls on Dr. Sandra E. Weissinger, Sociology Professor, from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Please read her story and tell us how you have displayed acts of courage!

Sandra E. Weissinger is a professor of Sociology. She teaches and writes about the hard stuff - issues of oppression, resistance, and resiliency. And she’s not afraid to pinpoint our roles, as individuals, in practices that hurt and disempower others. Her recent books look at the broken policing system in the United States (Law Enforcement in the Age of Black Lives Matters: Policing Black and Brown Bodies) and the myriad ways “good” people and institutions continue to engage in anti-Black racism (Violence Against Black Bodies: An Intersectional Analysis of how Black Lives Continue to Matter). In a society that constantly participates in group level denial (a type of cowardice), rationalizing social injustices away, Weissinger’s work is both brave and necessary. She reminds us that our collective well-being relies upon our individual agency and desire to heal the dangerous injustices caused by prejudice and discrimination. These injustices can be covert or bold. They occur at the individual level or are at the root of social institutions. Regardless of form or perpetrator, it is courage to do this work and equip others to be thoughtfully engaged too. And courageously Weissinger acts, holding workshops and public lectures in the Saint Louis area.