Female Muslim, Arab-American Chesterfield firefighter breaks barriers

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — One of the few female Muslim, Arab-American firefighters in the country works in Chesterfield.

 “We are always looking for more people,” said Enon volunteer fire department firefighter Katie Amin.  “We’re looking for people with different skills. And we’re willing to work with you no matter what.”

 Amin is a Chesterfield Firefighter and community advocate.

Seven years ago she started as an EMT for Chesterfield County before training to become a firefighter. 

“I want to be a role model not only for little girls,” said Amin. ” I want to be a role model for everyone in the community.”

Amin was the only female in a class of 19 other male recruits.

“How to use my own body and strength differently than the male recruits,” said Amin.  “So a lot of it was interesting but they really did help out and they were always there to support me.”

Chesterfield Fire recently shared video footage of Amin’s talk at TEDxGraceStreetWomen in Richmond.

In the video, she takes the audience through her journey, where she says she learned to overcome obstacles, in both physical and cultural biases.

“Chesterfield County is diverse,: said Amin.  “Chesterfield County is accepting and we welcome other cultures and genders in the firehouse.”

In the talk, she touches on the concepts of belonging. 

“How strong I am,” said Amin.  “How fearless I am. How much of an advocate I am for my community.”

Amin said she proudly wears her hijab in a male-dominated firehouse.

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