Introducing the First George Regas Interfaith Youth Outreach Intern!
A few months ago, ICUJP announced an opening for the first George Regas Interfaith
Youth Outreach Intern position. We sought a person who would understand and embody
ICUJP’s commitment to honoring prophetic perspectives of non-violence and justice with
a critical understanding of many issues, including war.
Last week, ICUJP selected Kifah Shah as the George Regas Interfaith Youth Outreach
Intern. Kifah graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s in Ethnic Studies in May
2010. She grew up in Palm Desert, CA, and recalls moments when her friend’s parents
would call her a “‘good’ Muslim” girl, or when her teachers would make sweeping
generalizations about what “her people” were accountable for. In many ways, these
experiences shaped Kifah’s consciousness as she became more politically aware and
involved. Her organizing extended beyond her undergraduate experience when she
became the Spokesperson for the “Irvine 11” last year.
“I feel like I became a diplomat at age 12 because after 9/11 I had to explain myself, plus
a billion other Muslims, to everyone around me. So talking to people about free speech
and the right to dissent in a case like the Irvine 11 was second nature to me,” Kifah said.
Kifah’s commitment to social justice comes from her upbringing, and she is thankful to
her parents for having taught her about important issues: “Through their examples, my
parents taught me how to merge my spirituality with principles of social justice, which
proved to be completely intertwined.” Kifah says she tries to find a spiritual departure for
every social justice issue she is involved with.
Some of Kifah’s tasks for this year will include engaging in interfaith relations and
dialogue around alternatives to war and violence, encouraging youth activists in faith
communities to confront issues of bias, researching and developing original youth-
targeted materials, developing and moderating appropriate social media projects, and
creating youth outreach events.