Tirelessly marching for more than three months, seven days a week and in 90-degree Florida weather, persistence and strength are what describe sophomore Alaa Massri and her journey toward activism and advocacy.
Over the summer, Massri took part in over 50 marches across the state, many of them being for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. She then brought her activism to the USF and Tampa Bay community in a way that helps other activists focus on their mental health.
Massri started an organization in late July called Our Power United, which takes a “holistic approach” to activism and emphasizes activists taking care of their mental health.
“I was like ‘We all need a break,’ because none of us were going to take a break, but we all needed it,” said Massri. “We all needed to sit down and heal — do the yoga, do the meditation, and you know, play sports and do the arts and crafts. We needed that space to heal.
“We all needed to focus on ourselves to keep fighting the next day.”
Throughout BLM marches in the summer, Massri provided first-aid treatment for others who were injured while protesting at the marches. She said the community she created while protesting has been one of the most impactful developments in her activist career.
“The community support is so just beyond what you could hope and dream for,” said Massri. “Without them, I don’t think I could’ve come as far as I am.”
Massri has been taking the time to focus on her mental health since her last protest in Tampa on Aug. 29.
“It’s really important that we focus on ourselves and heal and renew our own selves so that we can come out stronger the next day,” said Massri.
In this week’s episode of The Oracle News Podcast, Massri talks to hosts Leda Alvim and Jorgelina Manna-Rea about Our Power United, her experiences protesting over the summer as well as what drew her to become active in social justice issues.
For the full conversation with Alaa Massri, listen to The Oracle News Podcast with Leda Alvim and Jorgelina Manna-Rea, which premieres Monday night on your podcast platform of choice.