Signs of Love: Detroit Woman Finds Strength Fighting for the Deaf Community & Family

There is a fighter in each of us. An uncrowned champion long on determination, prepared and ready to win if given the chance. The best version of ourselves, not looking for anyone to fight our battles, but intent on marshaling every asset from within to propel us to victory. If we are lucky, we get to choose the battles we fight. But all too often, the battles choose us, and we are forced to dig deep into the darkest spaces of our mind, heart, and spirit to find that fighter — the champion within. 

Khadija never had the luxury of choosing her fights. Born to a mother who struggled with addiction, and raised in Detroit, Khadija learned to make do with little, while always dreaming of more. Her “more” wasn’t solely the pursuit of things that money could buy, but driven by a deep love for her family, it also included the desire to keep them together.

At the age of 21, when most young people are looking forward to their independence and the requisite search for their best life, Khadija decided to adopt her younger brother and sister, even though other family members were telling her to let them become wards of the state through foster care. And it was not like Khadija didn’t have enough on her plate, having become a teen mother to a daughter who was born deaf. 


Author Charles Swindoll famously wrote, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Consider Khadija a 90 percenter! Never one to cower in the face of her daunting reality, Khadija’s life’s trajectory is positive and instructive in a myriad of aspects. There is an undeniable symmetry between her life’s challenges and how she answers back — literally and metaphorically. 

When asked, “Who is Khadija?,” she answered, “I’m caring, dependable, helpful, and giving,” revealing that she defines herself by qualities and attributes that serve others. 

Her college degree in deaf studies and a certificate in addiction therapy show that even her educational and career pursuits are exclusively driven by her desire to care for the people.

Forever looking for avenues to serve others, Khadija used her investment from UpTogether to establish a nonprofit to help others navigate the landscape of special needs. The Association for the Advancement of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (AADHH) is dedicated to improving the educational and occupational outcomes of deaf/hard of hearing youth.


After years of being all-consumed by her desire to take care of others, often at the expense of herself, Khadija is finally carving out space and time to invest in her personal wellness and growth. Through Trap Yoga and twice-weekly workout sessions, she is forward-focused and far from weary. She has raised three siblings (she had guardianship of two) who are now flourishing on their own, and her daughter, Khyiana, is a college freshman, a published author and an advocate in her own right. She also has two younger children who are also doing well. 


Khadija is a fighter who knows how to strap up, get in position and battle whatever comes her way. Is it easy, comfortable, or fun? Hell no! But it is fundamental to who she is and wholly integral to her mission to leave the world a little better for those who cross her path. 

It’s working.


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