Sixteen-year-old Ziad Ahmed is a Bangladeshi-American Muslim living in Princeton, New Jersey.
He attended a Catholic elementary school. It was here, shortly after the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, that he saw, firsthand, the misconceptions and prejudice people had about Islam.
“There are just so many people discriminated against in this world for things that they can’t control,” explained Ahmed. “That’s why I do this work. It’s not just because of anti-Muslimism bigotry.”
Ziad Ahmed: Fighting discriminationTeen activist, Ziad Ahmed talks about fighting discrimination.
Ahmed saw a need to speak out— to have a voice, not just for him, but for others who felt alone in defending who they are and where they come from.
“We cannot continue to paint a people with one brush, whether it be Muslims, whether it be the LGBQT+ community, whether it be any community,” said Ahmed. “We are more than the labels society gives us and I will keep saying it until the day I die.”
Two years ago, he started a website called “Redefy”, designed as a place for young people to share their stories, online, in order to help others defy stereotypes and embrace acceptance.
His activism became so renowned and popular that he was recognized by the White House and his efforts earned him a seat at President Barack Obama’s dinner table this past summer.
Ziad Ahmed joins Mike Walter in our New York studio to share more about “Redefy” and finding his own voice.