In the summer of 2020, as COVID-19 tore through communities, and law enforcement faced a racial reckoning, Minnesota named it’s 2020-21 state teacher of the year. In the state that saw the killings of George Floyd and Philando Castile by law enforcement, Qorsho’s recognition as the first Somali-American to be named teacher of the year remains significant. But what never stopped was the racist, misogynist and Islamophobic harassment that she faced regularly.
Nevertheless, Qorsho continued to work hard for her students and community, advocating with them and for them. Until she could not go on.
Qorsho was my first friend in our state teachers of the year cohort of 2021. And continues to be a source of strength, humor, and motivation to me. Her story is at once a powerful testimonial and a cautionary tale.