We are so happy to welcome Sharmin Hossain to 18 Million Rising as our new Organizing Director!
Sharmin Hossain (she/her) is a Bangladeshi-American queer Muslim project manager, design strategist and artist, from Queens, New York. Before joining 18 Million Rising as the Organizing Director, Sharmin was the Campaign Director of Liberate Abortion, managing the coalition of more than 150 reproductive justice and rights organizations, groups, and abortion providers fighting for abortion access. In her former work as the Political Director at Equality Labs, she led the South Asian progressive power-building program by using community research, cultural and political organizing, popular education and digital security to fight the oppressions of caste apartheid, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and religious intolerance.
A co-founder of the Bangladeshi Feminist Collective and graduate from CUNY Hunter College, Sharmin spends her time making zines and mixed media collages, dancing to house music, and nerding out about Muslim and South Asian political history and liberation struggles. For over five years, Sharmin was a lead facilitator and organizer of East Coast Solidarity Summer, a political education camp for South Asian and Indo Caribbean youth. She currently resides in Philadelphia.
How were you politicized?
I come from a lineage of Bangladeshi liberation fighters who survived genocide. My father was a socialist student organizer, and my mother is a survivor of domestic violence. The intersections of war and feminism informed my politics as a queer Muslim abolitionist growing up in a post 9/11 world – I lived in a hyper-policed state that actively surveilled Muslim students across public school campuses. As a Muslim, activism was a key tenet of our work on this Earth, and it informed my belief in the beauty and possibilities of Divine Justice, and my commitment towards social justice work. Because I witnessed the impact of a war driven economy, I’m driven to work for socio-economic change because of my desire for another world – when we fight for a world free of oppression and violence, we build stronger communities.
What are you looking forward to in this role?
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the United States, and as the tides of religious fundamentalism rise, with authoritarianism powers expanding in the diaspora, Asian Americans are looking for a national political organization that organizes our communities to shape the visionary politics and resilience of our community. We believe power building is necessary to build a political home, and 18MR is a unique position to grow national networks to become a longstanding national organization fighting for the liberation of our people.
I believe that these times call for dreaming about what can be emergent, and learning new ways of relating. Through cultural, digital first and political organizing, I’m excited to cultivate power through a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy that involves relationship building, creative collaborative models, and resilience that builds upon the work of oppressed Asian Americans.