Sister Act

Life. Faith. Resilience.
Photography by Ridwan Adhami @ridzdesign

This podcast is about two American women, Hurunnessa Fariad, a Muslim and Pastor Michelle Thomas, a Christian, coming together to discuss life, faith and resilience. Conversations centered around humanizing American Muslim narratives while discussing likes and differences between the two faiths through life experiences.  Join the co-hosts weekly for a variety of topics and guest speakers! Follow Sister Act by clicking below.

https://sisteract.libsyn.com/

Hurunnessa Fariad is a staple name amongst the interfaith community around the Washington, DC area. Her initiatives between the various faith groups have established a multitude of relationships of understanding, respect and acceptance.

Hurunnessa has been asked to speak and participate on many panel discussions at various faith related events as well as representing the Muslim community at government agencies. Her witty humor combined with real life references and facts, makes her a dynamic speaker.

Escaping the Soviet/Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Hurunnessa and her family fled from Kabul in 1980 and immigrated to Pakistan. Three years later, she and her family landed in Queens, NYC as refugees. She grew up in Queens and attended a performing arts High School where she majored in music and became a trained vocalist. She graduated Hunter College with a degree in English Literature and Elementary Education.

Hurunnessa currently lives in Sterling, Virginia with her 4 daughters and serves as Head of Outreach/PR & Interfaith at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center), the second largest mosque in the United States. She has represented the ADAMS Center on CNN, WUSA9, Channel 7, Channel 4, NPR, Kojo Nnamdi show (WAMU) and other national and international media outlets. She is an active member of MJAC (Muslim Jewish Advisory Council), PCI (Peace Catalyst International), member of the Board of Directors at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy(VICPP), Leadership Circle for New America Movement, Committee member for Fairfax County’s Interfaith & Equity Committee, member of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Multicultural Coalition and former Chair of Religious Affairs at Fairfax County NAACP.

Hurunnessa is the Music Director of America’s first Mosque Youth Choir, ADAMS BEAT, which she started in 2016.  ADAMS BEAT is actively involved in interfaith and advocacy work. Aspen Institute Featured ADAMS BEAT on a podcast to showcase the importance of involving youth in Interfaith work through music.

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Pastor Michelle C. Thomas is widely known and revered as a 21st century leader. Her proven track record as a revolutionary thinker, business innovator, prolific communicator and prophetic voice has established her as a leader of leaders.

Born to Jamaican immigrants in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in her father’s Pentecostal church, Pastor Michelle was shaped by the influences of living legends and revolutionaries of the Civil Rights Movement. For more than thirty years, she has been an ambassador for freedom, equality and justice, remaining at the vanguard of progressive social and civil rights movements for justice and equality in the United States. 

Pastor Michelle is a general in the world of community organizers & advocates. As a high school student, she successfully lead the student demonstrations of the January 1987 Forsyth County Civil Rights March.  Working alongside Civil Rights legends, Rev. Hosea Williams, Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King and Congressman John Lewis. Pastor Michelle mobilized over 800 high school students across Georgia.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Duke University School of Engineering, she shattered the corporate glass ceiling and started her own IT Consulting Firm, moving from IBM employee to IBM partner. Retiring at the age of 27, Pastor Michelle has partnered with fortune 500 companies, the Federal government, politicians, churches, and heads of state for more than 20 years.

As the founding pastor of Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries Int’l, Pastor Michelle is the first African American female to establish a church in Loudon County, Virginia in 2006. Pastor Michelle was selected to give the invocation for President Barak Obama at the historic 2012 re-election campaign rally at Loudoun County High School. In April 2013 Pastor Michelle founded Loudoun’s first Christian STEM Preschool and STEM Summer Camp. 

One of her greatest achievements in the county has been her re-discovery and reclamation of the African American Burial Ground for the Enslaved at Belmont.  In 2015 Pastor Michelle founded the Loudoun Freedom Center, dedicated to the Preservation, Protection & Promotion of African American historic communities, heritage sites, sacred burial grounds, cultural resources and artifacts.  In January 2016, Pastor Michelle became the first African American woman to be appointed to the Loudoun County Heritage Commission. January 2019 she was sworn in as President of the NAACP Loudoun Branch and is on track to become Loudoun’s first African American forensic historian and certified preservationist the summer of 2020. She was sworn in as the Director of Water & Soil Conservation in Loudoun County in January of 2020.