Ezgi Koc, a second-year student and Critical Theory & Social Justice major at Occidental College, has been a political activist since high school and envisions a future in politics or community organizing. On campus, Ezgi co-created and is currently president of the Middle Eastern and North African Students' Association. Last summer, Ezgi participated in an Urban & Environmental Policy summer internship with the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles. Recently, Ezgi was appointed to the Associated Students of Occidental College Diversity and Equity Board. Ezgi continues to inspire the College with substantial community engagement, leadership potential, and a commitment to intersectionality and inclusion.
When I was young, my immigrant parents from the Middle East instilled in me the importance of being involved in my community as they tried to find community themselves in St. Louis, MO. I saw them experience workplace discrimination, I had relatives who struggled to immigrate even with political turmoil, and I had my own experiences navigating the US. In St. Louis, I felt that I had missed out on having Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) peers that were my own age, so I knew the importance of a designated space for MENA students to celebrate their culture and be unapologetically MENA on Occidental College’s campus as I created my college’s Middle Eastern and North African Students Association. I set out to address issues of equity in LA County Second District Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office, during my time at the nonprofit Muslim Public Affairs Council, and on my campus through community healing and education. I hope to continue working in the MENA community through an intersectional lens focusing on community healing and shifting conversations on issues within and beyond. I also plan to work on improving education on the region with an emphasis in peace and conflict.