SARA SALEH - BOLD MOVES FEATURE
We are honoured to have Sara Saleh as part of the Bold Moves campaign, she's one inspiring woman with so much to share.
Sara is an activist, a campaigner, a lawyer, a board member of GetUp!, a poet and an author of the book Arab Australian Other.
What’s your favourite book and why?
Too difficult. Too many. And it changes. I think one should not have a single favourite book. Will you settle for a top 20?
What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?
I prefer experiences with the people I love to material gifts… (I am a poet after all!)
What do you do for fun?
Reading, writing, travelling, spending time outdoors alone, karaoke-ing, love trying new things, binging TV shows, and hanging with my sister Aya and my cat Mocha.
Tell us about yourself and the work you’re doing?
I am a daughter of Arab migrants living and learning on Gadigal land. I am a human rights activist, community organiser, and campaigner for refugee rights and racial justice, I am also a writer and poet. I have been focused on elevating other young people, and helping build communities of resistance grounded in the interconnectedness/ shared struggles.
Why do you do the work you do?
For my community. And because I can’t possibly see myself doing anything else. The political is personal for me.
What inspires you to get out of bed in the mornings?
The people I love. And creating a safer, fairer, kinder, and more just world for them where they feel loved and are treated with respect and dignity, where they have more opportunities than me, and less barriers.
And the beach…there is so much beauty in this world, even in the most mundane of moments.
What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?
When someone’s humanity and morality shine through and it reminds you how complex and nuanced we are. It’s healing, our capacity for good…Humans are an adventure.
What is something you've learned about yourself this year?
I CAN say no. And the world won’t fall apart. I CAN make mistakes, I am allowed…as long as I try and rectify them.
What is one of the best life lessons you’ve learned and why?
You are always more privileged in relation to someone else. You have a responsibility to other people once you understand this.
What are you awesome at?
Writing. Community Organising. Singing. Laughing at terrible jokes. Accents! Solving mysteries, and fighting ‘crime’. To quote Tash, Friday's (everyday) are for smashing the patriarchy.
What do you love about yourself?
My gut…My grit...and my ability to connect with others.
What behaviours do you think hold women back and how do we change this?
Constantly shrinking ourselves to make others feel less threatened, more comfortable, not owning our power. And not taking up our space and filling out those shoes. It’s a disservice to yourself and your circle/society not fully understanding/living out your worth and capabilities. You can do this, and still stay grounded/humbled in kin and community and in sisterhood.
How do we make sure we are inclusive of everyone in this movement towards equality?
At this point, I am concerned with the means. I would say equity, rather than equality…a more equitable redistribution of power.
To get there, we must commit to doing the work – it is ongoing, tireless, thankless often, and there are hard truths and difficult conversations that need to be had. There is accountability.
Self-reflection is a good place to start. And imagination! It is so important to be able to radically imagine a future together. And create it.
Tell us about a time that you have struggled and overcome a challenge in your industry or in your life?
In my personal life, dealing with loss and grief… A support system is everything.
What makes you feel empowered?
I come from a family and history and heritage of storytelling. This is what empowers me. To share stories, tell my own, and hear others particularly womxn, and womxn of colour.
Do you have a favourite mantra?
I have many, but this one has been singing to me lately… ‘if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution’
Master’s house won’t dismantle the master’s tools – Audre Lorde
‘Just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’ – Toni Morrison
In the work that you’re doing, how can people show support?
By committing to the process of unlearning. By speaking out, by showing up. By actually making themselves uncomfortable – and giving time or resources (money, skills)…and sometimes it’s knowing when to step back and share the space / facilitate other voices.
When we do reach gender equality, what does this world look like to you?
Liberation and Love that is big enough to set the oppressor and the oppressed free…
It’s about the means, and the end.
What is your purpose?
Living a good, moral life, being an eternal student…learning, growing, laughing and loving on the way!
What has been your boldest move to date?
Going for that second piece of cake.
What is your call to action for women?
Ground yourself in empathy and in community always. Build healthy relationships…know each other’s histories (herstories?) and heroes.
Recognise and acknowledge that we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
There is time for revolution, and there is time for rest (Trauma is not a sustainable source of energy for justice work).