Organizer Spotlight: Ariba Qureshi - 63 Magazine
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Organizer Spotlight: Ariba Qureshi

02 Nov Organizer Spotlight: Ariba Qureshi

In addition to every electoral organizer working across the country this cycle, there are many organizers like Ariba Qureshi who work all year round (for years on end) for causes they care about. For Ariba, that cause is access to quality education.

Growing up as a child of immigrants, Ariba’s parents worked consistently to ensure she was receiving the best education possible. When just out of college and organizing for the 2014 Nashville mayoral election, Ariba saw the vast disparity that existed between schools across Davidson County. It was this disparity—only 16% of K-12 students in Nashville are enrolled in a high-quality school—that led to the creation of Project Renaissance and its parent-led coalition Nashville Rise.

Project Renaissance works to provide all Nashville children with the high-quality education they deserve by empowering and engaging families, advocating for supportive policy, recruiting effective educators, and supporting, growing, and creating great schools. As part of this work, Nashville Rise works to inform parents about the Davidson County school system and how together as parents, they can work to better their school system. As an organizer for Nashville Rise, Ariba works to recruit, empower, and engage parents to advocate for their children’s education.

“Getting the chance to meet parents and community members across the county has given me an enormous amount of motivation for the work that we’re doing. Not only because I get to hear each individual’s personal story but I’m also able to bear witness to a passion: parents wanting to improve education across the board no matter what situation that person may be in.”

While organizing seminars, attending as many community and school events as possible, and meeting one-on-one with parents, Ariba has been able to create a coalition of parents who are empowered to make decisions for the group, not the other way around. With an immediate goal of doubling the number of children attending high-quality public schools in Nashville over the next five years, Project Renaissance knows that parents are the best advocates for their children, so they invest in organizers like Ariba who put volunteers in leadership positions.

“If you involve volunteers at every level of decision-making, they take more ownership over the success of the organization and that leads them to be more engaged.”

Clearly, Ariba is creating an organization from the ground up—one that will create real change in Davidson County. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish together.

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