This week’s organizer spotlight features Samia Karimi, an organizer with ARTogether (and participant in the 2021 virtual WiLD Academy):

1) What have you learned from “falling off the bike” as a leader?

Perhaps the most frightening thing about leadership is diving into pure uncertainty. You have to get comfortable about making decisions without knowing all the facts, without knowing the right people, without knowing where you will end up, or without knowing whether the people you are trying to help may no longer be alive next month. These past few months, I have been diving in head first, along with grassroots Afghan organizers, trying to make sense of the chaos unraveling back home, while finding ways to support the influx of Afghan refugees in our local communities. I am finding that it isn’t always access to information but rather it is HOPE and COMMUNITY that give me courage in the face of uncertainty.

2) What sustains you? Where do you get the energy to keep going?

I once heard a quote: “Never fear work that has no end.” Three things sustain me:

  1. Zooming out to the generations before me as well as behind me (big picture focus)
  2. Keeping the lines of communication and learning open with my fellow grassroots organizers
  3. My two Ds: my Daughter Sophia and Dance!

3) How will you be bold in your organizing work this year?

This time really calls for each of us to say yes when we don’t yet know the “how” of organizing. The learning happens as you go. Being bold means recognizing that every single individual I know (however distant the relationship may be) has a role to play—I need only pick up the phone and reach out. We each have a role to play and we must tackle our struggles with an intersectional lens. We each hold a piece of the puzzle.