The doctors said I wouldn't walk but here I am in front of you. However if I grew up with social media I don't think I would be. I hope that together we can create more positive images of disability in the media and in everyday life. Perhaps if there were more positive images, it would foster less hate on the internet or maybe not. Maybe it still takes a village to teach our children well.
Maysoon Zayid received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from Arizona State University. Zayid is the first person to perform stand-up comedy in Palestine and Jordan, and one the first Muslim women comedians from the U.S. to perform around the world. She is the co-founder and co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and can be seen on Comedy Central's The Watch List, and PBS's America at a Crossroads: Muslim Comics Stand Up. In the fall of 2006, Zayid debuted her one-woman show Little American Whore at LA's Comedy Central Space, which was produced and directed by Kathy Najimy. In 2008, her screenplay LAW was chosen for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is now scheduled to begin production with Zayid as the lead. Maysoon is a graduate of The Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership and was a delegate from the state of New Jersey to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She also uses her experience to help others in her parents’ homeland, running a scholarship and wellness program – Maysoon’s Kids – a charity for disabled, blind, deaf and orphaned Palestinian children in the refugee camps of the West Bank. She teaches the children to use art and humor to help deal with trauma and to bridge the gap between disabled and able-bodied children.
Maysoon Zayid inspires the women of the Empowered Arab Sisterhood. Her words, stories, and experiences speak to many of the struggles we face as Arab-Americans. Zayid’s fearless and passionate spirit humbles us, and we are proud to have a strong woman voice that is humorously and gracefully putting the spotlight on the darker parts of our society and encouraging cultural understanding and education. We celebrate the message you live by: being confident in yourself and never accepting the limitations others try and place on you. We look forward to more laughter and thought-provoking messages from this empowered Arab woman!