Speakers discuss activism, winding career at Young Women of Color assembly


Ishani Hariprasad

Keewa Nurullah, Donna Miller and Marshuane Hardy speak at the Women’s History Month assembly on March 23.

Ainsley Williams, Reporter

Focused around themes of activism, careers and feminism, the Young Women of Color presented its annual Women’s History Month assembly “The Many Forms of Activism” on March 23, featuring three panelists who discussed their winding career paths and how they pursue activism in their careers

The guest speakers included Keewa Nurullah, a former performance artist turned children’s store owner; Marshuane Hardy, assistant director of partnerships and strategy at the Logan Center for the Arts; and Cook County Board Commissioner Donna Miller. 

Commissioner Miller said that her interest in politics came after working on Capitol Hill in college. 

“I wouldn’t say I always planned to be a Cook County Commissioner. It kind of came organically,” she said. “Then here I am going into my second term. And you know, I feel like there’s still a lot of work to do on every level of government. I think we can all participate in our own special ways.”

Ms. Hardy came to her current career after jobs in both government and tech, but found herself wanting a career that focused around art. 

“I’m a West African dancer, and I had always danced, and I came to realize that the arts and dance was really the career that I wanted,” Ms. Hardy said. 

Similarly, Ms. Nurullah shares a background in performing arts yet transferred to being an entrepreneur after having her first child and wanting to be her own boss. 

“I ended up touring the U.K. performing all over the country and all over the world,” Ms. Nurullah said. “I realized that I no longer wanted to ask for permission to do what I knew I was good at […] and so I became an entrepreneur.”

When asked about what activism means to her, Ms. Hardy discussed the intersection between art and activism and how she allows them to thrive through her work at the Logan Center for the Arts. 

“To me, art is activism. My form of activism is allowing and making space for that art to happen,” Ms. Hardy said. “So I create the spaces in the world for people to present their ideas, to present their forms of social justice, to present the way that they are to you.” 

Ms. Nurullah spoke about how she encourages inclusivity through her kids store business, Kido

“At my shop, we promote multiculturalism and inclusivity. We have a wonderful diverse book collection[…] so that every kid that comes in the shop can see themselves reflected, and feel seen and feel appreciated and loved,” Ms. Nurullah said. 

Young Women of Color club adviser Sharon Williams said that the group was inspired by examples of activism in the country and in the school to have the theme centered around it. 

“The club wanted to help their peers think about what is activism and broaden that conversation,” she said, “and to think about activism as a way to empower people because everyone has a responsibility to help.”