AbenayaaAbenayaa Lane

sophmore, criminal justice and sociology United States Army Reserve, 2005-present
Cleveland, Ohio


By University Relations and Communications


What made you decide to join the military?

“It was the day after 9-11. As a Muslim woman, I was fully covered wearing my hijab, walking down the street to the grocery store. I heard sirens behind me. As I turned around, two police jumped out of the car and pointed their guns at me. It was in that very moment that I said to myself, ‘This is my country too, and I am ready to defend my right to religious freedom and my right to choose to be covered.’”

Tell me about how people might treat you when you’re in your Army uniform compared to how people treat you when wearing your hijab?

“When I’m in uniform, I get all the respect in the world and people thank me for my service as they walk past. Out of uniform, when I'm covered, some people try not to see me and just keep walking past. It's a big difference living in two worlds as a Muslim soldier.”