Yasmine Ebrat chose to discuss her experience as an Afghan-American and what attending UC Berkeley means to her:
“I was born 45 minutes from Berkeley in Fremont, California. It’s pretty well-known that Fremont carries the famous term “Little Kabul” due to its large population of Afghan people. Growing up in an Afghan community, I was strongly tied to the Central and South Asian identities at a young age. Before leading Berkeley's Afghan Student Association, I started an ASA back in high school with just 5 members. My parents, both being refugees, wanted the best for me when they came to the United States, and getting into UC Berkeley was a representation of their hard work. They were so proud and continued celebrating the news at every party we went to.
As a political science major, I aspire to be an immigration lawyer especially after learning about it in detail this past year. After the events that took place in Afghanistan this past summer, we got tons of messages asking for help, donations, & assistance. It was an overwhelming, memorable experience and we had to rely on ourselves to take action and form protests to increase awareness about the difficulties that Afghan refugees face. We took initiative to collaborate and form a “scholars at risk” fund for our fellow Afghans and support them with donations. We raised funds and the Vice-Chancellor’s office matched the funds that we raised which were greatly appreciated. In retrospect, I am happy to have helped but still wish we could do more.
I think the best reflection of finding a community at Cal has been MEMSSA. If we take a look at the organizations revolving around MEMSSA and ASA specifically, there is a strong sense of community & friendship building which is so great to see. It’s important to explore your options when trying to figure out which community you fit in but remember, you are welcome to all of them regardless. For me, it was the Afghan community!”