Home   Uncategorized   2016 Rising Star Honorees: Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh

2016 Rising Star Honorees: Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed and Zahra Noorbakhsh


Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles.  An electoral organizer by trade, she’s mobilized thousands of Asian American & Pacific Islanders to the polls in over seventeen different languages in the past fifteen years at various non-profit organizations, starting with founding South Asian American Voting Youth in 2004. She currently is a Campaign Strategist at the Asian American new media organizing group 18MillionRising.

In 2016, Taz was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. She is cohost of The #GoodMuslimBadMuslim Podcast that has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Wired, and Buzzfeed as well as live shows recorded at South by Southwest and the White House. An avid essayist, she had a monthly column called Radical Love, was a blogger for Sepia Mutiny, has written for Truthout, The Aerogram, The Nation, Left Turn Magazine, and more. She is published in forthcoming anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors (2016) and poetry collection Coiled Serpent (2016) and was published in the anthology Love, Inshallah (2012)Her third poetry chapbook Emdash and Ellipses was published in early 2016. Taz curates Desi music at Mishthi Music where she co-produced Beats for Bangladesh and she annually makes #MuslimVDay Cards. Her artwork was featured in the shows Sharia Revoiced (2015), in Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s “H1B” (2015), and Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California (2014).

zahranoorbakhsh-headshotZAHRA NOORBAKHSH is a feminist Muslim, Iranian-American comedian. The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one-woman show “All Atheists Are Muslim” a highlight of the Int’l New York City Fringe Theater Festival. She is a contributor to the NY Times Featured anthology, “Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women,” and keeps a monthly column entitled, “My Infidel Husband.” A segment of her newest one woman show, “Hijab and Hammerpants,” debuted at Snap Judgment’s anniversary show, LIVE at the Paramount Theater. Noorbakhsh is also cohost of the internationally acclaimed podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, which was recently invited to record at the White House and deemed a “must listen” by Oprah Magazine.  As a comedian, Noorbakhsh has performed with renowned comics, W. Kamau Bell and Maz Jobrani. She was a featured comic at the Muslim Funny Fest’s Comedy All Stars showcase at NYC’s Comic Strip. This summer she was invited to attend the Sundance Creative Change Retreat, preparing for her comedy special, “On Behalf of All Muslims.”



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