Hebh’s entry into activism came courtesy of The New York Times, which featured her in a front-page story titled “Muslim Youths in U.S. Feel Strain of Suspicion” in December 2015. After the article appeared, a high school in the city invited her to speak about her experiences of Islamophobia.
“It was very diverse, very integrated. It felt abnormal to me, and I didn’t know why it felt abnormal,” she says. “So I went and I researched, and I found out that New York City has the most segregated schools in the country.”
After meeting with city council member Brad Lander, she’s become a student activist with the organization IntegrateNYC4Me, which challenges school segregation in New York, and she helps runs its race and enrollment committee. The city’s current school system is “disheartening,” Hebh says. “But I’m trying to fix it.”
IntegrateNYC4Me was cofounded by Sarah Camiscoli, who works closely with Hebh. “She reminds me of the importance of honoring student vision even when it seems challenging,” Sarah says. “And she shows me what it means to have the courage to take a stand.”