Sana Syed: A journey of survival
The word “diaspora” is defined by Merriam- Webster Dictionary as “the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland”. In the world of literature, diaspora often explains a nostalgia for the past and a longing for what once was. To be removed from what is familiar and transplanted into a new life can be terrifying, especially when the only friend you have is fear of the uncertain life ahead. It takes bravery and confidence to confront your individual diaspora, and Sana Syed’s story of leaving behind what is familiar to venture into a foreign life produces pure inspiration. Sana experienced what she calls a “unique life.” With immigrant parents from Pakistan, Sana often felt a tug between her parents’ heritage and the culture of the United States. Her extended family also frequently experienced these dilemmas because Sana’s father encouraged his family to move to the United States, support their financial burdens until accustomed to their new lives, and anchor their family to the American Dream. Unfortunately, Sana entered the cycle domestic violence at a young age that was later repeated in her adult life. The story of Sana’s journey through domestic violence is not meant as a plea for sympathy, but as a comfort to others: the diaspora that Sana has endured is the motivation for her work to prevent and end domestic violence.
Politics is a relationship game, but Sana doesn’t play when it comes either to politics or relationships. Sana has not been calloused by the hardships of broken or failed relationships, rather they have strengthened her to compassionately reach out to others. Her experiences of childhood domestic violence prepared her for the difficulties of adult life which require maturity and wisdom. What Sana considered to be an example of unhealthy relationships in her own home unfortunately manifested itself in her first marriage. The devastation, fear, pain, and troubles that accompany a violent family quietly showed back up in her life, and Sana was overwhelmed with questions like “what do i do?” and “how do i get out?” These questions give room to an element of diaspora and a longing for a healthier marriage. This point in Sana’s journey surviving of domestic violence called for an intervention, and where a domestic violence intervention for any toxic relationship becomes absolutely necessary. The women and men of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area who are in need of help are graciously met by Sana, by Sana’s experiences, and by Sana’s work to end domestic violence.
“I am passionate about setting women up for success,” Sana says, “and I think that starts with breaking the cycles of abuse, breaking the cycle of self- image issues, breaking the destruction of social media and its distorted idea of beauty. Because teaching young women how to break a cycle is the most important thing to do.” Sana’s dedication to domestic violence prevention and ending domestic violence takes form in a few ways. She and Dallas Councilwoman Jennifer Gates have a continued effort to implement a domestic violence task force and prevention committee that would guide their work to ending this crisis in their community. By meeting with people who have similar goals and working together to a common end helps Sana and Councilwoman Gates better understand their successes as a task force and the challenges they face. By working with participants and contributing to the annual report on domestic violence in Dallas Sana and the task force can look at what the numbers are saying, get a better picture of what is being done well, and where there is room for improvement. “The task force allows for discussion,” Sana explains, and this open conversation about the issues at hand and how they can be solved is one of the best ways to get people involved and find a solution to the problems.
Though issues of domestic violence in the DFW area is an personal topic for her, Sana’s heartcry pierces the farthest corners of the world. She has not limited her space and duties to a single city, region, or country, but has expanded her passion across the globe. Through the work of her non- profit organization, Kimiya International, Sana hopes to build a better community... world- wide. The humanitarian efforts of Kimiya International functions as an online space to share people’s stories, and educate others about what can be done to increase the quality of life for everyone. Documentaries, short stories, photographs, and other digital media acts as a display for humanitarian efforts around the world and “takes the ‘common stories’ of people who are making a difference, and turns those stories into something precious”.
The diaspora Sana must feel after she left her abusive childhood home, left her abusive marriage, and continues to work towards ending domestic violence in Dallas is something to prevent in the lives of others around her. Any removal from a stable family life may bring confusion or feelings of not belonging, but Sana Syed is working to dissolve domestic violence in Dallas and dissolve the negative consequences it invokes. The bravery and inspiration of Sana is changing the lives of everyone she meets.