Noor Abukaram is a student-athlete hailing from Ohio. In 2019, she founded Let Noor Run, a platform dedicated to fighting discrimination and injustices in sports, promoting gender equality for women, and making athletics more inclusive. Despite the crucial role athletics has always played in her life, Noor noticed that there weren't many Muslim girls in sports. This observation became more apparent to her when she was disqualified from multiple races for wearing the hijab. Noor realized the need to ensure future Muslim female athletes have the opportunity to enjoy sports without discrimination and wrote an article sharing her story. Her story gained worldwide attention, featuring in both The Washington Post and The New York Times, with others coming forward to share their experiences of similar discrimination.
This experience led Noor to establish Let Noor Run, where she has fought tirelessly for her right to run in a hijab. She worked with Ohio State Senator Gavarone to pass Senate Bill 181, which prohibits discriminatory policies in extracurricular activities, including sports. The bill was signed into law in February 2022, protecting students' right to express their religion, including wearing the hijab, in school sports and extracurricular activities.
Let Noor Run has facilitated opportunities to promote gender equality, including female-led panel discussions about discrimination towards the hijab, virtual 5k runs that raise funds to provide sport hijabs for young Muslim athletes in need, and frequent talks where Noor has used storytelling to inspire change. Noor's future plans include encouraging other states to adopt Senate Bill 181 to protect runners like herself and enforce gender equality. She will continue to use her voice and platform for others to share their stories.
Recently, Noor attended the ESPYS and was honored with the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award for her work in advancing gender equity in sports. She was also recognized by CAIR National as Muslim of the Year.
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