Zienab Abdelgany is a returning OC resident after spending six years in Massachusetts as a leader and then Associate Organizer with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, organizing religious congregations in Metro Boston around local and statewide issues of racial and economic justice. Her organizing helped to train and develop hundreds of citizen leaders whose collective campaign victories included increasing public funding for green spaces and affordable home ownership, passing landmark criminal justice reform legislation, lowering the cost of healthcare for state residents, and creating the first statewide civilian-led oversight board for police standards and certification in Massachusetts.
Zienab graduated from the Harvard Divinity School in May 2018, focusing her studies on the Islamic intellectual tradition and faith-based community organizing. Her Master’s thesis was a creative project that drew from Imam Al Ghazali’s Revival of the Religious Sciences to help Muslim high school students navigate the spiritual and intellectual challenges of transitioning to college. At Harvard, Zienab was a student and mentee of renowned civil rights organizer and professor Marshall Ganz; she has since conducted organizing trainings with diverse communities and institutions as a coach and coordinator with Professor Ganz’s international ‘Leading Change Network.’
While in Boston, Zienab also worked with local Shuyukh, students of knowledge, and professors on a program called the Iqra Fellowship which was dedicated to grounding Muslim college students and young professionals in an Islamic worldview, promoting ‘sacred activism’ and critically examining the philosophical and spiritual confusion of our times.
Before moving to the Boston area, she worked as the Youth Development Manager at CAIR-LA from 2012-2015 where she led political education programs and founded a national social justice training program called the Muslim Gamechangers Network.
Zienab believes in the transformative power of organizing models that center faith, neighborliness, relationships and developing the agency and collective power of ordinary people.