Ruqayyah Aakil was a homeschooled senior in Silver Spring, Maryland when she created art for I am the Night Sky. She enjoyes photography, puzzles, binge-watching TV shows, and music. She likes going outdoors – not to go hiking or anything like that – but just to breathe the fresh air and take in the world, whether it is through her eyes or the viewfinder of a camera.
Ruqayyah is a Black American Muslim. On her dad’s side she is African-American and American Indian, and on her mom’s side she is African-American and Panamanian. She is a third-generation Muslim, an artist, and a future engineer.
Her family was always different wherever they went. They looked different. But yet, in some way, they also had something in common with the people they were around. Ruqayyah decided to take part in this project not only to show the world her art, but also to let the world know that even though people are different, they have similarities. They have similarities, not only though many shared beliefs, but also because growing up in this country, everyone struggles. People are exactly the same from that standpoint. Everyone has struggles no matter their race, religion, or gender. And that’s part of why she joined this project.
“I decided to take part in this project not only to show the world my art, but also to let the world know that even though we are different, we still have similarities. We have similarities, not only through many shared beliefs, but also because growing up in this country, everyone struggles. We are exactly the same from that standpoint. We all have struggles no matter what our race, religion, or gender. And that’s part of why I joined this project.”
BOOKS BY RUQAYYAH