Student activist pushes for racial justice in Minneapolis


Eli Shimanski

Senior Isak Douah leads a chant at a South walkout for Justice for Jamar. Douah is known for his work in social justice in the Minneapolis area.

Eli Shimanski, Staff Writer

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more charismatic, helping and involved student then South senior Isak Douah. His friendly exterior mixed with a passion to do good is a talent that will help him do some big things. Between his enthusiasm in music and social justice, he’s likely to find success some how. 

One of the things that Douah has been celebrated for is his work in social activism in the Minneapolis area. “I went through like a social awakening junior year right after the murder of Mike Brown and the non indictment of Darren Wilson,” said Douah about how he got into social justice: “It hit me like a brick in the face.”

In the past he would only attend social justice events, but recently, in events such as the South High walkout in support of justice for Jamar he has been helping organize and lead in the events that he goes too. “I’ve been much less afraid to take like a leadership role, I used too be like down to go to the protests, maybe lead some chants, but I would never organize a protest or an action. But now I’m bout it,” Douah explained.

He enjoys his work in activism, but he understands when he wants his voice to be heard. He doesn’t want to be speaking for another person’s experience. “I like it [being a leader] and I consider myself an ally to a lot of causes and in those fights it isn’t my voice that should be heard.” He elaborated saying, “I like to take leadership when leadership is mine.”

Someone who knows Douah well is Open English teacher Michelle Ockman. She taught him freshman year and since then they have been building a stronger relationship. Ockman remarked how when she first meet him, he stuck out as someone special: “Ever since the day I’ve meet him I’ve noticed that his peers kind of flock to him.” She also noted that he has a certain sense of motivation describing that “he sees something and he goes and does it.”

Another passion that he’s taken up is music. “I’ve been writing songs since I was like nine years old,” Douah explained, “but I really started making music in the seventh or eighth grade with Sam Boldon. We used to go to his house and make beats and record songs.” During his sophomore year, Douah experienced a boost in popularity through his soundcloud page. As of now, he’s accumulated over 2,000 followers and has released 17 songs. “It’s weird, if you’re famous on the Internet sometimes what happens is you have followings in countries you’d never expect,” elaborated Douah.

When asking about Douah, you’ll understand why he’s so loved. While talking to him, he called his friends some of his biggest role models. His long term friend Betty Mfalingundi gave some insight into the transformation that Douah has gone through throughout all of  their time together. She said, “I’ve noticed his growth a lot over the years and I think that says something.”

Whatever Douah chooses to do he will be successful due to his laid back attitude, willingness to change and a friendly personality. He has a lot of talents and he’s using them to his fullest ability.