Dena Takruri always knew she wanted to be a journalist, but when she was growing up, it was almost impossible to find a role model that looked like her.
“Newscasters at that time were predominantly all white,” says Takruri. “From a very young age, I grew up with sort of this cloak of insecurity. I would just see how demonized Muslims were and how demonized Arabs were.”
As presenter for AJ+, Takruri made it her mission to challenge power. From calling out Donald Trump on his view of Latino immigrants to shedding light on the conditions at the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp to speaking to refugees on the ground in Syria, Takruri does not back down.
“There was this narrative that you had these ominous herds of Arabs, you know, refugees infiltrating Europe and infiltrating the West, and I wanted to tell the story differently,” she says.
Takruri now receives messages from young Muslim Americans and Arab Americans who see her as a role model. “I'm proud to be a positive representation and a role model for those who are younger than me who could say, ‘I can grow up and be on camera,’ ‘I can grow up and ask a presidential candidate something,’” she says. “The sky's the limit.”