Shahana Hanif
@sha.banana
Activist and Advocate for Chronic Illnesses and Muslim Acceptance
Kensington, Brooklyn

Shahana is inspiring others through her courageous advocacy and her willingness to leverage her platform to create awareness around both chronic illnesses and the Muslim religion.

Shahana is a community organizer, disability rights activist, and writer born and raised in Kensington, Brooklyn. She’s a loyal Brooklynite. You can’t get her to travel to Queens unless it’s for pizza. Shahana recently returned from Bangladesh where she cultivated transnational sisterhood with feminist leaders in the Global South and deepened her scholarship around disability and Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease she's been surviving since 2008.Shahana co-founded the Bangladeshi Feminist Collective, based in NYC. She performs stories at the Muslim Writers Collective NYC open mics, a platform she helped build. Shahana is a fellow in CORO’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program.

Q&A

You're so raw and real with your health struggles, how do you remain strong and positive when times get hard?

I remember how far I’ve come, I affirm my survival. I’m committed to life, deep friendships and connections, and family (bio and chosen). I cry a lot, too. Hilarious memes and relatable gifs really keep me going.

How has it shaped the way you see and define what wellness means to you?

I respect my body and feed it what it needs for nourishment. I believe in joy and I look for that in all of my interactions...this is important for wellness.

How has your community around you made you stronger?

Checking me, holding me accountable, and teaching me when I needed it.