Newark Charter School College Counselor Ryan Mitchell describes Dounya Ramadan, senior, as “a portrait of genuinely passionate motivation for change. Her advocacy for human rights – among many other causes like feminism, environmentalism, and globalism – is informed by knowledge acquisition and a fire in her heart,” he said.
Shortly after the Women’s March of January 2017, Dounya formed a human rights group in Delaware, Huddle for Justice. Their first act was to organize and lead Newark’s “March for Science and Our Earth.” Dounya has also started a Feminist Club at Newark Charter and individually received the Jefferson Award for Public Service from our school’s Jefferson council. “Dounya is impressive amid a school of students who make a habit of giving back,” said School Director Greg Meece.
Dounya also finished second in the Poetry Out Loud state competition. She recited “I Find no Peace” by Sir Thomas Wyatt and “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth for her second poem: “As a human rights activist, I channeled my disdain for the discrimination endured in our society,” she explained. She was surprised by her urge to write her own poetry since entering the contest, and also by “how much poetry allows you to reach into the universe and grasp a new reality.”
This spring, Dounya was instrumental in coordinating the student-led walkouts statewide in reaction to several mass shootings at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Parkland and elsewhere. She explained that she and her peers are frustrated that political leaders have not taken action. “It could have happened to us. It could have happened to anyone in this state, anyone in this nation, and it continues to happen over and over and over again,” Ramadan said. “The list keeps getting longer, tragedy keeps on going, and we have not taken action. It’s been too long.”
Recently Dounya was selected to participate in Bank of America’s Student Leaders program that connects community-minded high school juniors and seniors to employment, skills development and service. Participants are awarded paid summer internships with local nonprofits such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America and participate in a national leadership summit in Washington, D.C. this summer. The Student Leaders Summit focuses on skill building and creating a more civically engaged society. Dounya will attend Bryn Mawr College in the fall.