2015 was redefy’s second full year in existence. Our mission for 2015 was to reduce racial prejudice and hate within our community — and beyond.
This year was absolutely massive for redefy, and we’ve really accomplished more than we could have ever imagined. We’ve grown immensely, learned profoundly, and advocated effectively, and are excited to further our work towards equality. Since we did do so much this year though, this official reflection will be brief in its descriptions of our projects. Please note that there are individual entries for each of our initiatives below in our website that elaborate on them in detail that you can use our website search feature to locate.
We began the year announcing the Clean Air Campaign, which will be our effort to end the use of derogatory terms, racial epithets, and any belittling slurs. Our Film Team has been working hard on this project, and the video will be released in the coming weeks.
In April, we engaged with EveryoneMatters’ #IAM Campaign taking over 50 portraits of people to celebrate the individuality. Our efforts were commended by the international organization, leading to Ziad Ahmed (our founder) becoming a Youth Ambassador for EveryoneMatters.
In April, we also initiated our #PrincetonAgainstRacism campaign in partnership with Not in Our Town – Princeton and Princeton Choose. The purpose of the effort was to assert that as a community we would not stand for racism, and we ended up collecting over 125 portraits for our photographic element of the campaign. This project also drew a lot of local support, sparking many meaningful conversations.
Throughout the spring, we fundraised for the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s #DareToUnderstand campaign in response to anti-Muslim ads on SEPTA buses. We raised $1,565 for #DareToUnderstand to replace hate with understanding, making us one of the top contributors of the campaign.
In May, we held an event at Princeton Day School drawing over 25 students in attendance to hear Todd Mack speak about his organization, Music in Common.
In June, our Founder and President, Ziad Ahmed, was invited to the White House Iftar to dine with, be commended by, and talk to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Following this incredible opportunity, redefy received a wave of energy, visibility, and interest.
In August, our organization truly blossomed as we completely restructured. This transformation culminated in our Redefy Retreat that was held in order to bring the team together for a prolonged period of time to engage productively. The restructuring process created over 10 branches of redefy, and has really allowed us to be much more constructive in our efforts. This change launched our advocacy blog, #TheGenerationOfNow planning, our #CallOutRacism campaign, and many of our projects.
In September, we officially announced our partnership with the Princeton Sun that has created a column entitled “REDEFY REACHES OUT” within the Princeton Sun that appears periodically.
In December, we accomplished something truly outstanding in hosting #TheGenerationOfNow, a racial justice conference featuring prominent activists. Over 150 people attended the event at Princeton University on December 13th, and it was a defining moment in redefy’s journey. The event was spearheaded by Nick Jain, Nicole Hartley, Ziad Ahmed, and the entire event planning team. Almost all team members were actively engaged in the extensive preparation process, and it was a huge success. Speakers ranged from a Senior Advisor at the US State Department (Haroon Ullah) to the Editor-At-Large of the Daily Beast (Goldie Taylor).
Throughout the year we have also held six sessions of VOICES, our conversation series for teens on current events, at the Princeton Public Library. Topics have ranged from how the 2016 presidential candidates are addressing social justice to mass incarceration. VOICES has grown tremendously, often now having over 30 students in attendance, and becoming a monthly occurrence.
We’ve also expanded massively with the launches of redefy india, redefy panama, redefy buffalo, and redefy lawrenceville, and many more clubs/chapters are being coordinated currently by our Head Officer of Development.
This year, we’ve published 67 posts/articles, 27 stories, and countless social media posts. We currently also have 41,413 hits on our website, 2,232 likes on Facebook, 555 followers on twitter, and 259 followers on instagram. Also, throughout the year we’ve conducted workshops at local schools including Princeton Day School and Princeton Academy, and are working with school administrators to instate our programs regularly. We’ve also had the opportunity to interview some outstanding individuals including the Deputy Commissioner of the NBA, Mark Tatum. In 2015, we also gained our second official spokesperson, Cloe Breena (A Youtuber). Through our increased exposure, our Founder (Ziad Ahmed) has also been invited to speak nationally and internationally to present about the organization. Most importantly though, this year we’ve formed countless meaningful bonds, friendships, and networks that we could not be more grateful for.
In 2015, redefy was also featured in the Princeton Packet, MTV News, The Times of Trenton, The Town Topics, White House Press, The Washington Post, Share America, Arab Daily News, PBS NewsHour, Anonymous News, Princeton Patch, A PLUS, The Boris and Nicole Show, TBN 24, and other notable sources.
It has been a truly remarkable year, and we could not be more excited to see what 2016 holds!
Thank you all so much for your continued support!
– Written by Ziad Ahmed (Redefy Founder and President)