Meet Syeda, a Pakistani woman who is a big foodie and loves traveling and building community. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

My name is Syeda, but my friends call me "Sye." I was born in Pakistan and moved to the US when I was 8. I grew up in CT and moved to California when I was 22. I recently moved to Boston! I am a foodie at heart, love eating, cooking, and anything that has to do with food. I love traveling, exploring new cities, writing, and reading. I am passionate about being an ally for woc and look for ways to build strong connections with the people around me. I love starting dialogues about recent issues/events with other poc. Just a brown girl trying to find my place in the world.

2. Microaggressions and covert racism are way too normalized and a daily occurrence for people of color (and sometimes expressed by people within our own communities). How do you respond to them?

Growing up in a predominately white town can be extremely taxing. When I was younger I used to hate how I looked due to the numerous microaggressions I would hear on a daily basis. One that I will never forget is when two of my "friends" wrote "I am poop colored" on my binder as a joke. At the time I was so naive so I never said anything to them regardless of how much it hurt me. One night I was doing homework on the kitchen table and my mom asked me why it said that no my binder. I told her my friends wrote it as a joke. It still brings me grief when I envision the sorrow I saw in her eyes at that moment. She looked at me and said "those 
girls are not your real friends then." I may not have had the courage to stand up for myself as a young adult, but I worked extremely hard on dismantling such beauty standards from my mind. I had to build myself up from the ground and learn how to love myself for who I am. Most importantly, call out anyone who tried to tell me otherwise. So this shirt is my clapback for all those times I was ridiculed over what I look like because I will not let society define my beauty only I have the right to do that.

“You were brainwashed into thinking European features are the epitome of beauty.”