Soumia Aitelhaj is passionate about advocating for marginalized communities and empowering women, particularly indigenous women. She currently works with the Commonwealth of MA.
Soumia was born in a village in Morocco but immigrated to the United States with her family. In Morocco, being part of the indigenous North Africans, or Amazigh, she faced discrimination, even as a girl, for being indigenous. Amazigh groups are more commonly referred to as Berber, though that term, meaning barbarian, is derogatory to many Amazigh. The challenges posed by discrimination inspired Soumia to pursue her education to deconstruct false stereotypes. Soumia is grateful for all her teachers and mentors who encouraged her to pursue her passions.
She obtained a B.A. from Boston College, and master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She completed her thesis focusing on the Amazigh question and interned in Tunisia during the revival of the protests. Like in Morocco, Soumia also found Amazigh groups at the periphery in Tunisia. She is continuously inspired by the talented Amazigh girls and boys in North Africa’s villages who do not have an opportunity to finish their education. She has experience in mediation, worked in community organizing with immigrant communities, and taught in the Greater Boston area. In 2016, Soumia lived in New York where she interned at UN Women but now calls Boston home.
She enjoys playing writing poetry, drawing, playing volleyball, cooking, dancing, and is currently interested in taking up martial arts.