Dhaliwal’s activism continues a long legacy of feminism on campus

By Meghan Howie

Diya Dhaliwal has always cared about women’s issues, especially those relating to domestic violence. Her four years at American University (AU) have enabled her to take action and further her goals.

“When I came to AU I was looking for different interest groups I could join. One was Women’s Initiative. I ended up getting to know a few of the people and found it really aligned with what I believe in.” The Women’s Initiative is a Student Government-adjacent organization to promote gender equality across campus according to their website.

When asked about her position as creative director, Dhaliwal said, “That’s been really exciting because I like to think of myself as a creative person. I really enjoy art and activism. It’s cool to see that we can say “here are our beliefs” and then find a way to present them.” She organizes efforts on the creative front of the organization: promoting events, sharing others’ stories, and publishing the online content.

Her focuses in advocacy over the past four years have been issues of identity and sexual violence. “I think the two things that really stand out to me are making sure we understand the complex identities of women and nonbinary people in addition to anti-violence.”

Concerning the political atmosphere surrounding these issues, she said, “There has been some very ugly rhetoric around issues of consent and how we treat women…. Clearly, now there are lawmakers in office who don’t necessarily believe in the autonomy of women.”

As a graduating senior, she hopes her majors of International Studies and Statistics will take her to a career in international development focused on expanding women’s rights in other countries.