OUR STORIES | Leyla Bari: ‘In-betweener’ and ‘first generation person’


Leyla Bari identifies herself as “a mixture of Palestinian, Bedouin, Russian/Ashkenazi Jewish lineage,” adding that, “If I have to put a name to this identity I would say multi-racial, or multi ethnic, however I believe that this is an oversimplification, and feel like ‘perpetual outsider’ or ‘in-betweener’ is more accurate.” As an “in-betweener,” she said, “The community I identify strongest with is the globally expanding 1st generation community. Definitions of a first generation person vary, but like to define it as person who is the first person in their family to be raised entirely or primarily in another culture.”

The fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows, funded by the Bush Foundation, completed ten weeks of intensive learning on November 14, with the ripple effects already spreading out into various Twin Cities communities. The fellowship program focused on improving media skills with the specific goal of using these skills for better communication in/about/on behalf of each participant’s community. This article is one of several articles introducing the fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows and what they learned and accomplished.

Leyla found the Media Skills Fellowship helpful both as a way of learning social media skills and as a way of strengthening storytelling in the community.

She had never used Google Drive, and now finds it comfortable and useful in writing multiple drafts of projects. She has also become more comfortable with WordPress and credits the program for demonstrating how to use the dashboard and widgets on this blog platform.

A story that was shared in class helped her to support an asylum case at her workplace. “A story you hear over and over again in your own community and might be almost normal needs to be written down and saved somewhere, needs to be documented,” she said. “I didn’t realize how important that was. By hearing everybody’s stories – it seems like it was common knowledge for you and I didn’t know it.”

Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.