The world started to change and before I knew it, everything was different. Thanks to COVID-19, the days seemed longer, still, and repetitive. Maybe this reality would not be the new normal and was just a taste of something soon to end. It was terrifying but unavoidable as I felt my passions slowly draining and the sink that used to overflow with anticipation was suddenly empty. Stuck indoors, I could no longer play the sports I used to look forward to. However, I realized there was something I didn’t just want to do but had to do. To not just reignite that flame that once fuelled my passions for sports but to commit to utilizing such enjoyment to lead to greater change for the world.

Throughout this year I had the opportunity to co-lead on a project organized by Hijabi Ballers, a non-profit organization in Toronto. I led a fundraiser called the Black Muslim Female Athletes Fund, that aimed to promote racial diversity in sports, thus encouraging those marginalized to achieve their athletic aspirations. The goal was to remove the barrier of high financial costs associated with sports by providing individuals with financial assistance. Thus, emphasizing that being an athlete is not solely about being able to make the basket; it’s also about giving everyone the chance to stand in front of the hoop too.
As a black Muslim female athlete myself, I would often see many of my teammates drop out of sports due to the expensive equipment, whether it was for soccer or skating. Although I was fortunate enough to not have such experiences, it was evident that this financial barrier impacts so many people globally, making this fund so crucial to me. Therefore, given my unique circumstance I decided to give back and help others fulfil their dreams, just like I did. As a result, I realized that although anyone can be an athlete, it was more important to give everyone the equal opportunity to be one too. I learned that when you give someone the opportunity, that chance is what will allow them to flourish, no matter the circumstances they may be presented with.

Although times have been tough, it is helping others to get through those struggles that will not only unite society, but the world. Things sometimes take unexpected turns, but it remains important to make a positive impact on others that goes beyond yourself. That is what will lead to a more diverse playing field for all. I understood that although life was hard because of COVID, there was hidden beauty in it all, as those trials and tests were established to not only see how quickly COVID was able to change the world, but how we might too. “Just do it,” Nike says, and what I realized is that I did. I did do it.