January 16, 2012
A child of immigrant parents, Saabira Mohamed ’14 is driven by a passion to talk to others about culture and to promote diversity in the community. And she has taken that passion to the airwaves. Mohamed hosts two radio shows and is part of the director staff at WPRK 91.5 FM, the voice of Rollins College. Majoring in critical media and cultural studies and minoring in communication, she’s applying the communication and analytical skills learned in the classroom to develop connections with the Central Florida community—all while discussing issues of importance to her and listening to those of others.
What do you perceive to be the most pressing issue that your generation should address?
Education! My parents immigrated to the United States from Guyana more than 25 years ago. Individuals are quick to call me “Indian” based on appearance although, in reality, Guyana is in South America and associates frequently with the West Indian culture. The question that follows is, “Why don’t you speak Spanish?” With an open-mind and a little reading, more people can learn about the world and be more accepting of the cultures that create the American melting pot.
In addition, my generation has been spoiled by technological advances and influenced by television and the Internet. For this reason, we often think that we can skip out on education and learning. Without learning for ourselves and working hard like those before us, we cannot forge a successful path for the future.
How are you helping to make justice a reality?
I believe giving a voice to individuals allows justice to become a reality. For this reason, I always encourage the community to listen and contribute to WPRK. It is one of the few outlets where members of the community can voice their opinions openly. Other media outlets often overlook citizens’ opinions.
During his “I Have a Dream Speech,” King laid out his dream. What is your dream?
My dream is to always encourage others to speak their mind while maintaining an open mind. During his speech, Dr. King wanted his children to “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” When I’m on-air and behind the microphone, I am able to speak my mind while listeners judge me by my character, not by the color of my skin.
How does what you’re studying inform your dream?
Critical media and cultural studies has taught me that we are living in a society where corporations’ voices are the loudest. For this reason, citizens need to take the steps to be heard. We have made progress in racial equality, but now inequality is becoming prominent in even more areas.
How does your vision influence your involvement?
My vision for everyone to speak their mind is prevalent in my passion for radio and my devotion to my studies in the communication department. Whether interviewing bands of diverse genres, studying intercultural communication, or encouraging my friends to stand up for what they believe in and desire, I acknowledge that every person has a unique story that has made each one the person he or she is today. Every person has encountered a hardship or experience of some kind that we may actually share. Only through communicating open-mindedly with each other do we ever learn all of those details.
How are you working to ensure freedom for yourself and others?
Freedom of speech exists. My favorite time to exercise that freedom is on-air Tuesdays and Thursdays. During those combined four hours, I speak to listeners and listeners speak to me!
What advice do you have for students who are interested in becoming involved but aren’t sure where to start?
With over 100 student organizations to choose from, getting involved may seem overwhelming at first. Choose an organization that mirrors your current interests or perhaps something that you’d like to learn more about. Students and faculty are more than welcoming. You can learn and have fun by getting involved.
Honoring the life and legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, MLK Celebration runs January 16-21. Join us in paying homage to King’s work toward equality and economic justice for all people.
By Laura J. Cole
Office of Marketing & Communications
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