Sereen Banna

My personal story

Humanity, knowledge, and action

At five years old, my family immigrated ​from Lebanon. I spent much of my childhood in Southern California, enwrapped in a first-world bubble. At twelve years of age, my family moved back to Lebanon. My experiences there were very different, and opened my eyes to a plethora of suffering experienced in developing nations. I was in Lebanon when the Arab Spring left millions of displaced individuals, oppression, and despair. When we returned to the United States, I was introduced to a different America. It was different, not because circumstances had changed, but because reality became apparent. In the initial years of our return, I observed the unjust deaths of Sandra Bland, Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and many other black Americans by the hands of the police. Wherever I looked, near or abroad, I witnessed injustice. I observed innocent children dying in classrooms and climate change wreaking havoc on communities.

During my undergraduate studies at the University of California Davis, I was on a pre-med track studying Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. A month before graduation, I decided my career was not in the medical field, it was in Human Rights. I often state that my dedication to Human Rights began in my HMR 134 class at UC Davis, but my dedication to the field started many years before then. I have witnessed firsthand the suffering of Palestinians, Syrians, the BIPOC community, refugees, immigrants, the LGTBQA+ community, and individuals with disabilities. I strive to create a better future for marginalized groups and underserved communities. In order to continue my advocacy for a rights-based future, I will be graduating with an LLM in International Human Rights and Practice in 2023. I firmly believe that a just world should and will eventually prevail, but there is much work to do in the meantime. 

I launched Young Central in Fall of 2020. I was excited and prepared to disseminate information about human rights, social justice, and mental health. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen medical illness and subsequent mental health struggles, I had to pause the podcast. I am excited to relaunch this podcast, in addition to a blog, that I hope serves as a hub for human rights and mental health information and discussion.

The Young Central Blog

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