Last year, Summer Yousif Bales, 21, was a senior at UC San Diego where she was co-captain of the UCSD women’s soccer team which went all the way to the NCAA Div. II Semifinals. Growing up in Temecula, CA, Summer says she led a pretty sheltered childhood but that all changed Jan. 27, 2017 — the day President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769 AKA the Muslim Ban.
Summer says it was the first time a federal policy directly impacted her as four members of her immediate family, including her mother, are Sudanese Muslims. Though Sudan would later be taken off the ban, it still bolted Summer into action. She participated in her first protest at the San Diego International Airport and soon after, became an intern at the City Heights office of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) where her mother also works. As an intern, Summer says her duties include interviewing people who are in the process of naturalization and renewing their DACA status. “These are just regular people and they come from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances. I can’t really paint you an image of what our clientele looks like because the range is so wide.”
The experience was life-changing for Summer. Currently she is a graduate student at UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and over the summer, she received a prestigious $10,000 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Looking back at her newfound activism, Summer says she feels like she has been a part of something bigger than herself.