"In this day and age, everyone has a voice, even if they don't know it."
At first glance, Rashad Nimr doesn’t stick out in a crowd. He’s light-skinned, well-dressed and walks with an air of confidence. But when he starts to speak, you’ll notice a strong stutter. This doesn’t slow him down one bit.
“In this day and age, everyone has a voice, even if they don’t know it,” Nimr, who has lived with a stutter since age 4, says at the beginning of a TEDx talk he gave a few years ago.
Nimr is a gay, half-Palestinian who would spend his spare time in high school doing LGBTQ advocacy organizing and volunteering at Palestinian and Iraqi refugee camps. Today, he’s still vocal about human rights issues and radical self-acceptance.
“Possibly because of my own struggle for voice, I have taken a liking to spoken word poetry (…) What am I supposed to do with identities that don’t mix?”
His point? We are all deeply complex so there’s no need to be just one thing. Embrace the reasons you stick out in a crowd.
“The only silence I experience is the one that I control. I can speak when I want to. You will listen. They will listen.”
Nimr was recently featured in Equinox’s ‘Commit to Something’ campaign. This year, the campaign is highlighting dedicated folks with unlikely passions—male cheerleaders, women who breastfeed in public, and people like Nimr who turn stereotypes and stigmas on their heads.
“You just have to know that you see yourself. You just have to know that you hear yourself. You just have to know that you can be yourself, and then you will know that your voice is heard.”
Feature photo taken from Rashad Nimr’s Instagram.