Zerqa Abid describes herself as an “activist mother” which is quite an understatement. Zerqa Abid is the founder and president of Muslims for Ohio PAC and the MY Project USA, an organization that works on poverty and human trafficking issues in Columbus. She has organized Columbus Unity Meetings to bring all the socially conscious activist groups in Columbus together and she is active in Indivisible Columbus.
Originally from Pakistan and then from North Carolina, Zerqa studied mass communication, TV production and journalism at North Carolina State University. Her professional experience ranges from working in MSNBC’s Newsroom and managing a TV station to organizing international trade and commercial shows. Right now her priority is saving our children from drugs and pimps.
MY Project USA has two major priorities. The first is protecting vulnerable youth and families and secondly, fostering all youth to be strong community activists, political leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs and above all patriotic Americans. The community initiatives of MY Project have the dual purpose of combating Islamophobia and preventing radicalization of Muslim youth. It is one of the very few Muslim organizations in the US that are solely focused on the youth leadership development as their main business. MY Project USA is proud to foster strong Muslim youth that are building a stronger, just and more inclusive America.
In this very short time, about 200 youth have received leadership training through various workshops and more than a thousand community members who have been part of the organization in different capacities. My family pantry, my soup kitchen, MY Deah's store are some of their initiatives. They assist under-served, vulnerable children and families with food, clothing and other immediate needs. These initiatives help protect and empower youth. They have distributed more than 150,000 meals and more than 6000 toys, Eid gifts, coats, dresses, dental supplies and have created job opportunities.
Anna Borsick, a sex-trafficking survivor, is a core team member at the Muslims Against Human Trafficking, a national initiative of the organization. She has been working with Zerqa for about a year. She says, “It is a great feeling knowing that you are working with someone who has a true passion to help others. Through our own hidden languages we are learning and teaching each other how to be better stewards of Allah.”
Anna also helps at MY Deah’s thrift shop located at the MY Project USA main office at 3036 Sullivant Avenue in Columbus. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00AM – 6:00PM and hosts the food pantry every Saturday. You can join My Deah’s Shop for a Cause on Facebook for more information. Replacing the front door to facilitate food deliveries is one urgent need. They don’t have a receiving dock for food deliveries. It’s a difficult and time consuming job to transfer the donations from Mid Ohio Food Bank into their building.
Here’s how you can help: If you have ideas for fundraising, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org join or MY Project USA Support group on Facebook.
Zerqa’s second organization, Muslims for Ohio Political Action Committee (MOPAC)is also unique and much needed initiative. It is the only Muslim PAC organizing Ohio Muslim community to impact local, state and national politics since 2014. MOPAC supports value-based lobbying, voter registration, and youth involvement in their political priorities. Zerqa and members of MOPAC worked with the Freedom to Boycott in Ohio Coalition in efforts to oppose the odious Anti-boycott bill (HB 476) that was passed by the Ohio Legislature last December.