Jefferson Award Presented to Samina Faheem Sundas

July 29, 2007

Author: Shelah Moody

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Samina Faheem Sundas, a community activist and a Sunni Muslim from Pakistan, had been living comfortably in the Bay Area with her family since 1983. But her life, like so many others, changed forever after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"I was in Costco when I first learned about the tragedy," said Sundas, who wears the full-body dress and head scarf traditionally worn in Pakistan. "I just started crying. I remember there was a man who looked at me and asked, 'Why are you crying?' I couldn't even find words to answer him. I was hit twice at that time, one because of the tragedy that took place, and two, because it gave me a sample of what my life was going to be like after that. Even though I have been a citizen for a long time, all of a sudden I was considered an outsider who does not have the right to cry about the worst tragedy that happened to our country and the innocent lives we lost."