Mohini Tangri

Group Coordinator for Washington and Lee University, Student Activist Coordinator for Virginia
Lexington, VA

Why did you become an activist?

My grandmother’s servant, Rani, never fails to smile at me when I visit my family in India. Her positive attitude is admirable: she is the victim of an acid attack. Burns extend down her face, neck, and chest. She is basically a part of my family, and interacting on such a personal level with her has largely spurred my decision to become an activist and focus on bringing justice to women like her abroad.

What are you doing to stop policies like the Muslim Ban?

In partnership with another activist group on campus, Amnesty International @ WLU organized a rally in solidarity with Muslims and immigrants on campus after Trump’s executive order was announced. Nearly 300 people came, including from the surrounding community–this was particularly exciting because Lexington, VA is a tiny Southern town! We also raised $1500 for a refugee protection agency in Atlanta and lobbied our local Congressman through letter and poster campaigns on campus. We intend to continue raising awareness in similar ways in the future.

How can we combat hate and xenophobia in our local communities?

The most effective method of combating hate and xenophobia is bringing people with different experiences into direct contact. Last year, we organized for a Liberian activist to come to W&L and speak about his experiences fighting for human rights in his country. Post-talk discussions showed that students were far more understanding of the perspectives of people who are trying to escape conflicts in their home countries, demonstrating the impact that speaking with another human being about their direct experiences can have on such issues.