Moonlight Hubb has been a lifetime in the making. I may not have realized it growing up and navigating the many challenges of coming to the US as an immigrant, but those experiences were uniquely positioning and preparing me for this journey of leading a humanitarian consultancy.
My parents immigrated to the US with me in tow at two years old. I recognized the many obstacles my family faced early on because of our immigrant status. English wasn’t our first language, and my parents lacked much formal education. But in my eyes, these things didn’t matter. I saw hardworking, motivated people who wanted the best for themselves and their children. I saw them as people educated in the ways of the world and people who offered a unique sort of wisdom and unshakable poise that I appreciated then as a child and still do today.
While my parents never overly pushed my siblings and me to excel academically, studying came naturally to me and was something I enjoyed. My innate curiosity meant I devoured books to learn more about the way the world works. While in reality, I was likely behind my classmates aptitude-wise, that never deterred me, for what I may have lacked in academic preparation and skill, I made up for in curiosity and passion for learning. And unlike many of my peers who were born in the US, I recognized the immense privilege I had to access a high-quality education in the US—something children and families across the world dream of.
As I think about these experiences I was able to access from a young age, I reflect on the many opportunities generations of my family before me lacked. My family's history is marked with years of moving from one place to the next with no one true home. My history is one of immigrants and refugees.
My father grew up in the farmlands of India as the eldest of eight children. In search of a better life and more opportunities, he migrated to the Middle East. My maternal great-grandparents were Palestinian refugees who uprooted to Syria. My mother was also one of eight children. When her father passed away, my mother was forced to drop out of school at 12 to help care for her siblings and tend to the family home. As a girl, she lacked the educational opportunities and expectations of her male peers.
And while some may focus on the many negative experiences in my family history, I choose to embrace and celebrate the positives and the abundance of love and sacrifice. My family history is one of selfless sacrifices, where each generation put others ahead of themselves to protect them and help them prosper.
Perhaps it was my curiosity and unique position as a daughter of parents whose history was marked by strife, sacrifice, and constant movement, but I recognized early on the immense suffering people around the world face. And I also knew early on I wanted to do something to alleviate it. I found inspiration in and was fascinated by those who overcame adversity. If they, I thought, could overcome such hardships with so few resources, I certainly could, too, as someone with such comparably better circumstances and resources. I held on to that dream of being a force for good to help alleviate suffering throughout my childhood, and now, in launching Moonlight Hubb, that dream is becoming a reality.
But the road to getting here wasn't easy, no matter how motivated I was. I was an ambitious kid with lofty goals. Other kids thought I was weird, and it wasn't easy for me to make friends. I allowed this fear of judgment to cloud my vision and decided it was better to simply be quiet, imposing a self-sanctioned state of voicelessness upon myself. And it wasn’t until I set off to college that I found that voice again.
It was exhilarating to be in an environment where I found others who cared as much as I did and were as passionate as I was about wanting to change the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend college, as it provided me with the environment I needed to reclaim my voice and reignite my passion for helping the world's most vulnerable populations. It restored my faith in humanity that other people care.
While my voice may have been temporarily silenced, a more permanent silence is a reality for people across the globe. So many people around the world need help and want to be heard. They want others to know of their suffering. They want others to know they are human. They feel, love, hurt, and have dreams, too, but they cannot live their full potential because of circumstances beyond their control.
I believe that our basic desire as a human is to be heard and for others to understand. As someone who lived some of the realities many vulnerable populations around the world do, I find it easier than most to empathize with and grasp the realities of their situation. And this also gives me a unique perspective on ending that suffering and ensuring their existences are validated.
I spent most of my life devoted to supporting many vulnerable and historically underrepresented groups in finding their voice, taking initiatives in their lives to make positive changes for themselves and the people around them. Many individuals who belong in these groups never had opportunities to positively contribute to their lives, especially in the areas of health, education and career. My desire in supporting communities to take actions stems from my interest as a global citizen to ensure more people have the courage and tools to thrive.
One of the most critical steps in advocating for and supporting many underrepresented and vulnerable populations is mental health awareness. As a kid I witnessed people around experience disturbing mental health crises that affected them and those around them as well. Yet, it's something we never talked about.
I am a mental health advocate and aim to create programs that offer educational materials and services for mental health. Mental health is still stigmatized in the US, and even more so in immigrant populations where their home cultures may lack even more education in this realm. With immigrants and refugees facing so many challenges, these are critical populations to focus mental health education and resources on, ensuring they know it’s okay to take care of themselves and their well-being.
Mental health education must start at a young age to normalize these conversations and ensure everyone feels comfortable talking about their challenges and traumas. As the oldest child in my family, I had to bare many responsibilities to keep my family together and survive, which can be a heavy burden for a child. I am fortunate that my parents loved me wholly and unconditionally and expressed their love, reminding me that I was the light in their lives. Today, I strive to continue to be the light for others.
And Moonlight Hubb is a critical piece of bringing that light to others who need it. It serves as a beacon of hope and light for underrepresented populations who need access to essential health and community resources. In working through organizations that work with various underrepresented populations by creating a centralized hub of educational and training resources, Moonlight Hubb seeks to bring our shared visions of creating a lasting positive impact in the world a reality.
I am honored to play a part in bringing light to where there is darkness through Moonlight Hubb and dedicate my work to my ancestors, my family, and everyone around the world who simply wants to live happily and peacefully.