By Jordyn Holliday
College of DuPage students Annie Todor and Amira Abuarqoub were recently announced as recipients of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship at a reception on the College’s Glen Ellyn campus.
The competitive $2,000 award is offered to students who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and plan to impact the lives of others based on the teachings and ideals of Dr. King.
Todor, who currently works at a safe house, said that she’s using her education to advocate in her current role in helping women who are leaving the life of sex trafficking. Her future plans include earning degrees in social work and building a career helping others deal with personal trauma. She said she gains inspiration from Dr. King’s teachings.
“One of my joys is to witness the women we advocate for developing confidence in themselves and the strengths they possess,” she said. “Martin Luther King said ‘If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.’”
During her acceptance speech, Todor shared her personal testimony of being born to parents living in a halfway house.
“My mother was in and out of state-run institutions her entire life,” she said. “I witnessed her living in deplorable conditions and not getting the help she needed. My parents not having that help drained me emotionally. I give back now as I work in rehabilitating women.”
Abuarqoub’s upbringing has also inspired her to make a difference in the lives of others through her work.
“As a young Muslim woman, going to public school was a challenge,” she said. “I never dealt with many confrontations about my religion until I was in the eighth grade because that’s when I began wearing the hijab. Once I started, I felt an immediate target on my back. Through this, I learned that hatred stems from ignorance and that educating others is empowering.”
Abuarqoub, whose goal is to someday become a Supreme Court Justice, said she respects Dr. King for being an educated and religious man who had a purposeful mission and a determination to make his vision a reality.
She said her favorite quote and life lesson from the reverend and civil rights leader is that “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
At the reception, COD Interim President Dr. Brian Caputo expressed the College’s commitment to Dr. King’s message.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship has been awarded at College of DuPage for approximately 20 years,” he said. “It recognizes those who demonstrate the values of peace and social justice that Dr. King espoused.”
Pictured: Annie Todor (left) and Amira Abuarqoub (right)