In this Wednesday series, you can get to know the CAIR-Sacramento Valley/Central California team that’s defending your civil rights and immigrants’ rights, empowering youth, and fighting for justice for all.

Meet Central California Outreach Director Sukaina Hussain!

What inspired you to work for CAIR-SV/CC?

I have lived in the Central Valley for three years and although it is very different from my hometown of Chicago, I feel closely connected to the community and region. During my work as a community organizer, I have learned of the drastic disparities which exist in our communities including areas of concentrated poverty, huge differences in life expectancy and neonatal survival rates, poor air quality, lack of access to clean drinking water in some rural communities, and a disregard for vulnerable immigrant communities. My faith has instilled deep values of social justice which have guided my work to help engage the community to build power for policy change and recognize our potential to have a positive impact. I was inspired to join CAIR-SV/CC to do this work in a broader way with Muslim communities. I believe that our role includes protecting rights of those who are marginalized, but also working to build leaders, amplify voices, and increase civic engagement of Muslim communities as well!

What do you hope to help CAIR-SV/CC accomplish in the future?

One of the youth in Fresno said it best when he shared his vision for the Muslim community, “When Muslims in Fresno speak, I want the whole country to listen.” I believe the Muslim community should be at the frontlines of social justice and policy advocacy for all issues including racial justice, immigration, criminal justice reform, police accountability, environmental justice, healthcare for all, healthy housing, and more! Our diverse communities are impacted by these factors in different ways and our faith calls us on work for equity and justice in all forms. I hope that CAIR-SV/CC can be a both a leading voice and a vehicle to work towards this vision for a better future for all!

What moment working in social justice had the greatest impact on you in the past year?

I had the opportunity to travel to the border near San Ysidro and the Otay Mesa Detention Center where thousands of families are being separated and children are still unjustly detained in terrible conditions. Last year, as we chanted and protested outside with multi-race interfaith communities from across California, we could hear the calls and cries from the detainees inside. Standing atop a hill at a church in San Ysidro, we could see both sides of the border. Although it is a small distance, it’s terrible that there are hundreds of miles of obstacles to cross. The stark division and oppression on vulnerable communities left a deep impact as we continue to work to highlight the struggles of families being torn apart.

If you could describe yourself or your motto in one sentence, what would it be?

Optimistic and driven.

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

Kayaking, trying all types of (halal) food, and museums.

What’s your favorite food?

Biryani, potatoes in any form, chocolate.

What’s the last book you read?

“The Bonesetter’s Daughter” by Amy Tan

Favorite area coffee shop?

1920 Tea Club (milk tea with cheese foam) but otherwise regular Keurig coffee since we don’t have a Dunkin Donuts in town.

Looking for CAIR outreach in the Central Valley? Find Sukaina attending many community events in the region!