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Inclusion

Hannan Adely

She/Her

Specialty Writer

Northjersey.com

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Talk to me about a place where you can be yourself.

The place where I can be myself is at Sunday dinners with my family. I have a large family and we sit around large platters of home-cooked Middle Eastern food and talk about our lives, current events and music. Someone is usually cracking a joke about an embarrassing or funny moment from our childhoods. It’s a place of warmth and acceptance.

What has been your biggest teachable or meaningful moment that you’ve experienced so far?

My family’s house burned down when I was in college. I was a commuter and returned from studying to find I no longer had a house. Everyone got out safely. Of course, you miss photographs and souvenirs, but in times like this, you realize how material things are not so important. Family and friends took us into their homes and looked after us. You realize how the people in your lives matter so much.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

For me, Women’s History Month means celebrating the women in my family. I have five sisters. My parents were immigrants, and we did not have much, but they stressed education. Today, my siblings work in law, medicine and academia. We are giving back to the community in various ways. Given our humble beginnings, I’m proud of how far we have come.

What would be your theme song or walk-up music if you were to win an award and why?

I’d walk up to Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine. Musically, that song can hype you up no matter the time or place. The lyrics also make you think about war culture and about status quo. It’s such a great song, with a fierce sound and a message.

If you could talk about something for 30 minutes without preparation, what would it be?

If I could talk about anything for 30 minutes without preparation, I’d talk about music. I listen to different genres and enjoy going to concerts. Right now, especially, I’m a fan of women in indie rock who have been making such exciting music and raising the bar. Courtney Barnett, Wolf Alice, Wet Leg, Mitski, Boygenius … I could go on.

What makes you excited about the work you do?

It’s exciting to see direct impact from our work. I often write about refugees and people ask how they can donate or volunteer. I am also proud of a series of stories I wrote in 2022 about men who were deported to Haiti. They were imprisoned after their arrival in horrendous conditions and their families in the U.S. were extorted for money. One of the detainees died during a cholera outbreak. My reporting brought international attention and news coverage to this issue. There were protests and legal interventions. The men were eventually released. I’m still in touch with them and planning to write a story about their lives since their release.

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