Huda Hanbali (Palestine & Jordan)
"I have always been a very reserved kind of girl and it was amazing to have such sisters just open their arms out to me and say, "You are accepted as one of us." I know that sounds like a bit of like a cult, but when you have yearned to explore your Arab identity and share it with others for as often as I have, you are grateful to feel included in a group where you can express another part of yourself. I did not always have this closeness to the Arab culture and did not even have the chance to grow up with the other Arab kids. It was like my parents kept me away from them, but I'm sure they had their reasons. When I had attempted to befriend them, it was like they had already formed clicks and judgments about me so that I never really had a place in their group. It was like being an outsider to something that should have let me in from the beginning. Joining this sorority was being that shy little girl again who wanted to have a cultural bond with others like herself. I learned about how the other Arab girls grew up and their similar stories involving family, food, boys, defining religiousness and just the overall culture. I feel grateful knowing them for the short time that I had at UCLA. And I am equally grateful that this sorority will have the opportunity to expand, grow and show other Arab girls, sorry, young Arab women, that they have a place to express their cultural identity. I would like our EAS network to expand and unite others so that they can all share and have something to bind themselves to the culture and never have to be alone in doing so."