Social Justice, Podcast, Urban Issues, Community

Episode 68: Black Youth in Community Organizing — with Ayaan Ismaciil and Natasha Mhuriro

August 11, 2020
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On this episode of Below the Radar, our guest host, Jackie Obungah, is joined by Ayaan Ismaciil and Natasha Mhuriro.

They discuss the importance of starting a Black in BC Mutual Aid fund during the pandemic as a means of community support and sustenance. Ayaan and Natasha also talk about finding a balance between student life and community organising. Both Ayaan and Natasha are members of the African Students Association at SFU and have been part of student organizing initiatives on campus. In this conversation, they also explore the continued solidarity between Indigenous and Black communities in working towards liberation.

About Our Guests

Ayaan Ismaciil

Ayaan Ismaciil is a Black African Muslim Refugee-settler on the stolen and occupied ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples; the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. 

She is invested in community organizing, furthering aftocentric decolonial practices in her life/community, and creating youth spaces that center the leadership, lived experiences and expertise of Black and Indigenous youth. Ayaan is a founding member of the Black in BC Mutual Aid Fund Team. She is also working on a personal project Dreams of Humanity: Refugee Voices which aims to create space for Refugee folks living in what’s colonially known as Vancouver. Amid this global pandemic and fight for Black liberation and Indigenous Sovereignties across Turtle Island, Ayaan is being sustained by mutual support and community care from Black and Indigenous youth.

Natasha Mhuriro

Natasha Mhuriro was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She currently lives, works and studies on the occupied territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.

Her interests are in public policy and empowering self-identified Black women. Upon completion of her studies at SFU she hopes to start initiatives that will encourage young women to foster positive societal change by taking an active role in shaping public, economic and development policies. She is inspired and guided by the many teachings and lessons she continues to receive from the Black women in her life.

She is passionate and invested in community organizing, which has resulted in her making lasting contributions in the various fields she has worked in marked by an exceptional devotion to amplify the voices of Black women. On campus she organizes with the SFU African Students’ Association as President of the group to engage and amplify African students’ voices and interests and the community at large. She also currently volunteers as one of the co-organizers of the Black in BC Mutual Aid’s Support Fund which is a low-barrier, emergency, micro-grant program that seeks to support Black people in BC throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Natasha loves travelling and fashion. In her free time, she enjoys reading, journaling, dining out at different restaurants and spending quality time with her family and friends.



Obungah, Jackie. “Black Youth in Community Organizing — with Ayaan Ismaciil and Natasha Mhuriro.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, August 11, 2020. 


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