Sharif says his mother has always been his inspiration. Time and time again she created something out of nothing, not one time allowing him to see the struggles she went through on a daily basis. Sharif has seen his mother turn 15 cents into a dollar but hardly a dime was spent on herself. She turned her circumstances into a master's degree and to this day, still inspires Sharif to be the best he can be in any situation that life hands him.
Along with that, his father's ideology and drive to end inequality will always motivate Sharif to keep moving forward. "He never concerned himself with people's perceptions and never hesitated to discuss his beliefs. He made you hear him. He was a true radical, a man who inspired me to never sit idle but instead to open my mouth and initiate change."
With a family like Sharifs', you would have thought he’d have been born and bred into a movement but instead, in 2006, he was a business management major at Cincinnati State community college. His grades were poor and he had lost all interest in college and higher education. Around that same time Sharif was coming into his own and began to take interest in race and ethnic issues in social environments. He signed up for class: sociology 201, exploring race and ethnicity and would have to admit, sociology saved his life. It inspired him to get involved, educate himself more and inevitably, open his mouth and make a change. The next day Sharif switched his major to sociology and 6 months later transferred to Wright State.
Sociology at Wright State challenged his thoughts and motivated Sharif in ways he never could have imagined. Professors Dr. Weinzimmer, Dr. Orenstein and Dr. Kim all opened his eyes to new things and he truly thanks them for that.
Today, Sharif works at a halfway house with drug addicts. He is a life skills counselor and supports youth in developing and implementing individual plans for independence including housing, employment, education, and life skills goals. It is a job that has not only challenged Sharif but provoked him to see things differently.
His experience while enrolled at Wright State University has encouraged Sharif to bring about change and to inspire people to be the change they want to see. Recently he lectured at Wright State and discussed the major issues surrounding the Black American, including stereotypes, slavery and the media’s bias. It is his goal to continue this conversation inside and outside classrooms or wherever he may go. Sharif currently writes and lectures about race and equality.