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A Refugee Story Worth Sharing

This has nothing to do with real estate technology, so if you can handle that, read on…

From a comment on AVC from Yasmine Mustafa:

Something broke down in the immigration system because despite being brought here, we discovered we were illegal aliens when I tried applying for college. I put myself through school with two under the table jobs and couldn’t apply for scholarships despite my 3.8 GPA. It took me seven and a half years to graduate. That experience motivated me to want to be my own boss.

The second was the discrimination we endured after 9/11. I walked into work the next day and my boss turned to me and said “yasmine, you don’t know how to fly planes do you?” I have been called a terrorist, told to go back to my country, shouted out that I don’t belong here. My brother had it worse – he was named Osama. He faced racial slurs, was jumped at work, and fired without question. He had to change his name to find another job.

But being brought here gave me opportunities I never would have fathomed. My first startup was sold in late 2011. I’m on my second and we’ve raised nearly quarter of million dollars and employ 4 FT people and 7 contractors. I’ve dedicated my life to championing the under-privileged.

We don’t choose our parents, the culture we’re born into, the color of our skin, the religion that’s bestowed upon us, our socioeconomic class, the order in which we’re born, the education we receive…and they all have a direct impact on the opportunities and disadvantages we’ll have in life. Furthermore, we have zero influence on these when we’re most vulnerable.

We are all the same deep inside – please don’t discriminate against factors that someone didn’t have any influence over. Some people fall on the advantageous side of the birth lottery and some get the short end of the stick. I wish more people thought about that.

Edit: I wrote about how I’m living the american dream after I became a citizen 3 years ago: http://myasmine.com/living-the-american-dream/

The “life lottery” she mentions is very, very real — and ensuring people realize that with their own eyes (seeing something on TV or in a magazine doesn’t result in lasting empathy or understanding) is a big underlying motive of mine to working on Horizon.

It came out in the comments on AVC that Yasmine is currently behind an Indiegogo campaign: ROAR: Smart Safety Jewelry to Reduce Assaults (Smart jewelry that emits a loud alarm & messages loved ones with your location)

I just backed the campaign, I hope you feel compelled to as well.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Product & Marketing for 360modern. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Carol Martin

    Great story a big thanks for sharing it with us.

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