Amanda Quraishi (Q) is a professional digital media and marketing strategist; educator; writer; and public speaker living in Austin, Texas. She is the founder of the Institute for Digital Civic Culture; as well as an advocate for women's rights, public education, digital privacy, and the free press. You can contact her here.
For the past fifteen years, Q has developed an internationally recognized personal brand as a digital thought-leader, strategist and educator. She has helped countless individuals, businesses, non-profits and community-based organizations use digital media to meet their marketing, advocacy and storytelling goals.
Today, Q works full-time as the Digital & Social Media Director at the Texas Association of School Boards where she leads the organization's digital legislative advocacy efforts and co-hosts the TASB Talks podcast.
Q is also the founder/director of the Institute for Digital Civic Culture, a program designed to elevate online culture and empower leadership in digital spaces. IDCC is housed at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.
Q serves as a member of the Community Advisory Board for Austin PBS, and as an Advisory Committee Member for the Muslim Space. She is an advocate for women's rights, public education, digital privacy, and the free press.
Digital Civic Culture
This program is a response to the rapidly devolving public online discourse that Q witnessed leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and which continues to threaten our democracy.
At its core, IDCC is a professional development program and network that aims to elevate and transform online culture by training thought-leaders to use social media for real-world impact and to facilitate important online conversations that are essential for a healthy society.
Born in the mid 1970s to an economically disadvantaged family that believed fervently in an End Times theology, I spent the first twenty years of my life believing that the world was going to end at any moment. My childhood was steeped in fear and anxiety, as well as self-righteousness and religious exceptionalism.
In my early twenties, after sufficient exposure to people and information outside my religion, I finally figured out that a cataclysmic Armageddon was, in fact, not coming and that everything I knew was probably wrong. So I spent a decade self-medicating and trying to cope with the loss of my world view, community, belief system and in some cases, family who rejected me because I chose to leave their version of the truth. The wake of self-destruction was epic. I've got scars.
Thankfully I hit bottom early. Throughout my thirties and (now) forties, I began to rebuild my life based on an unflinching pursuit of truth. Real Truth. The one and only. I embraced Islam as a spiritual path, though I maintain a contentious relationship with both religious doctrine and religious community. Turns out, religion has a lot of the same awful pathological ignorance and denial of realtiy regardless of which brand you choose.
Because of my personal history, I've chosen to live a life that prioritizes questioning authority; freedom of expression; the right of each person to walk their own path at their own pace; and the transcendence found in art, music and literature. I'm often at odds with ideologies (religious, political or otherwise) that depend on social pressure to maintain the status quo, protect the powerful, and that suppress progress and the rights of individuals. I do not like to stay in line.
My life thus far has been unconventional, but I'm proud of where I've ended up. These days I'm part of an loving family and community of friends and colleagues who accept me for my past and present eccentricities. I'm a full-time-working, tax-paying, volunteering, home-owning, responsible adult married to an immigrant, raising biracial children; a proud Texan, and a Muslim on my own terms. I'm still figuring all this shit out, and having a marvelous time at it.