If you've been to any progressive event in Orange County during the past decade, you know who Rida Hamida is, even if you've never talked to her. Her radiant hijabs, wrapped in the billowy Andalusian style and usually in some shade of pink because "it's a color that breaks down barriers and emanates happiness and courage," aren't the only reason the 36-year-old stands out. She's usually standing at the front during speeches: sometimes speaking, sometimes at the side of other community leaders. Leading is natural for Hamida, community liaison for Loretta Sanchez and co-founder of the Arab American Civic Council; it's literally her name, which translates as "leader" in Arabic.
Photo by John Gilhooley Follow the Rida
"I need to live up to it," Hamida says. "It's important--I mean, it's my name!"More »