Aisha Engle is a multifaceted woman; she is an activist, mother, scholar and a self-described victorious survivor. In a world where women seem so marginalized and woman of color are even more disenfranchised, Engle is doing her part to empower all women.
After taking back her agency and leaving an abusive relationship, Engle used her experience to help others. Not only did she survive domestic violence but came out of it victorious.
“This is not something I want for my children; This is not something I want for myself,” Engle said as she describe why she became involved in helping others. “I realized that, in order to honor myself as a woman and honor myself as a human being, I had to let go of that abuse.”
Letting go of that abuse is part of why Engle feels victorious in her survival.
“One of my pinnacle moments as a woman was regaining that strength,” Engle said. “Once I did that, I reclaimed the woman I had lost along the way.”
As a student assistant in the Woman’s Center and a member of Advocates for Black Feminism, Engle is dedicated to helping others reclaim who they are and empowering them to be strong in the face of adversity.
“The things that I enjoy doing [and] that give me the most inspiration and energy is when I’m knee-deep in helping people or promoting something that honors and empowers people that are marginalized,” Engle said.
Engle says academia is where she truly feels alive and it was women’s studies classes that gave her the final push to become an activist for social justice.
“[It was] the sheer magnitude of how women are oppressed on a regular basis, either through interpersonal relationships or in institutions [that I asked myself], ‘Well what do you want to do with your life, Aisha? What makes you happy? What makes you excited?’” Engle said.
Helping others has always been a passion for Engle.
Friends, neighbors, it does not matter, being helpful is just one of her many qualities.
“Aisha is outright just an amazing person. When you are that awesome you can’t just have one best character trait,” said Laila Shabazz, a kinesiology major. “If I had to narrow it down to a few they would be her ability to receive and extend love in large quantities, her personal emphasis on authenticity/honesty and her hugging skills. I like to receive at least one Aisha hug a day.”
Being able to encourage people is a great quality Engle sees in herself.
She is a firm believer in affirming one’s talents and strengths no matter what it may be.
“I feel that’s what activism is,” Engle said. “You’re lifting people out of either circumstance or environment. You’re removing a burden that’s been placed on them.”
Recognizing people’s struggles and inspiring them to smile anyway is Engle’s mission.
No matter her own struggles, she pushes through them and smiles because she believes the world is still beautiful and she is always willing to give someone a hug.
“To my knowledge, her motivations include being wholly authentic as a black woman, student and mother; being able to create a loving environment free of micro aggressions & spiritual limitations as well as manifesting greatness through community and representation,” Shabazz said.
Engle has already inspired so many people and many have only nice things to say about her.
“She embodies the struggle of every woman of color,” said Tina Marie LeMoine, a women’s studies and ethnic studies major. LeMoine continued to describe Engle as articulate. intellectual and stated that “when she speaks, she commands attention.”
To put it simply, “Aisha, shows the world and the [system of oppression] that she can rise above adversity,” LeMoine said.
Engle’s ultimate goal is to show everyone that they can do the same and imbue them with the ability to do so.