How a New Yorker became the face of anti-Trump protests
Almost a decade ago, a high school student was photographed in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
Now the 32-year-old Bangladeshi-American interpreter from Queens has become the poster child for people protesting US President Donald Trump.
Munira Ahmed posed for the portrait during a photo shoot for “Illume,” an independent magazine covering Muslim American issues. Photographer Ridwan Adhami captured the tightly framed, striking image of Ahmed wearing a hijab, fashioned from an American flag.
Shepard Fairy — the artist behind the 2008 “Hope” poster of Barack Obama — worked with Admani and the non-profit Amplifier Foundation — a self-described “art machine for social change” — to produce the new poster as part of the organization’s We the People campaign.
Ahmed told CNN’s Connect the World she had “a lot of mixed feelings” about her face becoming synonymous with an “anti-Trump” movement.
“You can and should be proud of being a Muslim and being an American. You should not have to compromise any part of your identity. Being that I exist as a woman who is American and Muslim — neither of those things should make me anti-anything,” she said.
On Inauguration Day, Ahmed demonstrated in Washington DC.
It was “surreal at first” to see how many people were carrying placards with her image, she said. “I saw groups of women walking toward me carrying it. I thought, ‘whoa, it’s happening! It’s right in my face.”
The next day, she marched at the Women’s March on the National Mall. There she began to understand the scope of the movement, she said.
“It’s beautiful to see so many women who are not Muslim, who are not South Asian like I am… everyone saw that as a relevant poster to hold. They had a choice to pick any poster… or message,” she said.
Although her image has become a central part of the protest, Ahmed said she remains hopeful that the poster will continue to inspire.
“There’s a lot to be proud of and hopeful about,” she said.