Ayesha Khan: A Discussion of Violence

Ayesha Khan: A Discussion of Violence

By Nirvana Meseljevic, Staff Writer

Senior, Ayesha Khan spent her summer different from most people. She did an internship with the public library association, at the Skokie Public Library and created a panel discussion, which took place on Mon. Sept. 18, to talk about violence and the effect it has on our communities

Khan organized guest speakers to come and speak on behalf of the topic, such as Professor Miles Harvey of DePaul University, Dr. Melissa Blount, an active member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Carlos Matolana, an artist who works with young teens to express their feelings on violence through art, and Kray Christiansen from the YWCA to speak on domestic violence.

“I developed the panel over the course of the summer and I designed the topic. The panel is supposed to focus on solidarity and resilience in the face of violence and the intent of the panel is to bring together different members of the Skokie community,” Khan said.

She felt that often times it’s difficult for us to relate all of our problems, based on the experiences that we’ve all had because they are all so different. Her goal was to figure out how to find solidarity in that way.

Michele Hettinger, Khan’s junior year English teacher attended the panel on Monday night and was very pleased with the discussion.

“The fact that she pulled together this eclectic, informed panel speaks volumes of her desire to do something in terms of the violence in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. She’s been trying to make this happen for about a year now, and it was a credit to her hard work that so many students and community members came out to hear the panel. I was really impressed with her dedication and drive, which is just part of who she is,” Hettinger said.

Khan’s friend, senior Vanessa Reis, was there for support at the panel. She witnessed her hard work over the summer and the dedication she had towards her project.

“Ayesha’s been passionate about preventing youth violence since she was in middle school. She has not only tried to establish her own programs to deal with these issues, but she played a huge role in introducing copies of one of the professor’s book, “How Long Will I Cry”, to the library here at Niles West,” Reis said. “I’m currently in the process of finishing it myself, but to give you an idea of how deeply Ayesha cares, she’s even been quoted in the actual text. Sure, they’ve spelled her name wrong, but the fact that she’s there in the first place should be proof enough of her commitment. This entire panel was a labor of love.”

The audience was incredibly impressed with Khan’s dedication to creating such a successful and thought-provoking panel.