My passion is learning people’s stories: the way we do things, individually and as a society; how we share our values and face our challenges; what motivates our interaction with the world. I’ve written about forgiveness for the accidental killing of a child; protests against Islamic cemeteries and mosques; chalk drawings by Mormon missionaries; the connection between public speaking and music; and much more.
I earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction in August 2015; my final manuscript, Facing Mecca: An American Muslim Explores Religious Identity, examines the personal experience of being religious in America. It includes memoir, narrative essays and observation pieces. The manuscript ranges across topics such as my experience preparing my sister-in-law’s body for burial, the experience of gay Muslims in America, my transition from liberal humanist to practicing Muslim, and how and when minority religions are – or are not – welcomed by American society at large.
In addition to religion, my special interests include profiles, civil rights, politics, health care/medical issues and public speaking.
I write The Straight Path blog for the Houston Chronicle and have contributed to the paper’s Belief and Gray Matters sections. I write a regular column on politics and civil rights for the MuslimMatters online magazine. I have been a regular contributor to the Religion News Service, Azizah, Islamic Horizons and Toastmaster.
I have a Master of Arts degree in print and multimedia journalism from Emerson College, where I received the school’s Presidential Fellowship. My capstone project profiled drug offenders going through the Roxbury, Massachusetts drug court system.
I am a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and served as president of the Houston chapter from 2012-2013 and chair of the 2014 Texas/Oklahoma region SPJ conference. I currently serve on the Houston SPJ scholarship committee. I am a member of the Religion Newswriters Association, Houston Writers Guild and Muslimah Writers Alliance. I served on the local station board of KPFT/Pacifica radio from 2011-2012. I’m an avid member of the Toastmasters organization, with which I have served in several leadership positions.
From 2013 to 2015 I worked as the Communications Coordinator for the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), during which time I was on hiatus from freelance writing. While with CAIR I developed a passion for civil rights. I am grateful for the chance to incorporate that passion into my writing.
I am a New Jersey native currently based in Houston, Texas, where I have lived since 2003.
Contact me at ruthmiriam (at) earthlink (dot) net.
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