I, Too, Am America: Riyaz Ali ’14

Because I am Muslim, fasting is a part of my religion. I appreciate fasting. I feel like it’s a challenge for yourself. I can relate to other people who don’t have three square meals a day. It can make you be more in control of your body and your mind. It teaches you patience.

– Riyaz Ali, Youth-Fellow ’14, Appreciations Journal

At Ashoka Changemakers
At Ashoka Changemakers

What is your Illuminated identity?

Hello, my name is Riyaz Ali and I decided to participate in the Illuminated Cities Project because I did not want to be bored over the summer. After I went to the first meetup I thought this could be fun. Zehra told us that we would learn about heroism and segregation. After we did some of the lessons and traveled, I was able to experience being in communities other than my own. I was able to see things that I did not notice in my own community especially connected to segregation. For example, there are only people of color in my neighborhood. I don’t live in the wealthiest neighborhood, and there are no Caucasian people there for some reason.

How do you want to be remembered as a part of America’s fabric?
Legacy is what you want people to remember about you 100 or more years from now. My dream is that I want to be like Neil Armstrong. If you are in America, you know who he is. I want to go to a cooler piece of rock in space. I want to be the first man to land on Jupiter. I know it sounds impossible because we didn’t even land on Mars or Saturn, but it could happen.

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