Most people think practicing freedom of speech is either difficult because they have to stand up for what they believe in, or that it is overbearing.
For Arshi Rizwani-Nisley, practicing her first amendment right comes naturally.
Rizwani-Nisley was recently presented the League of Women Voters Democracy award for her personal experience of immigration and being active in her community.
Rizwani-Nisley was born in Pakistan and moved to the United States with her family. Rizwani-Nisley’s father was a college professor that got a job at Colorado State University when she was five. After staying in Colorado a little over year, Rizwani-Nisley and her family had to go back to Pakistan.
“My father had an unexpected heart attack and passed away,” Rizwani-Nisley said. “We were on his visa as his dependents and it expired. We had to go back to Pakistan.”
Five years later, a sponsor family in Fort Collins that knew her parents helped her family come back to the U.S., where Rizwani-Nisley grew up. In 1989, she became a U.S. citizen.
Rizwani-Nisley moved to Montana, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in teaching.
“My first job was in Broadus, Montana, where I taught English for 7,8 and 11th grade,” Rizwani-Nisley said. This is where Rizwani-Nisley met her husband and got married.
Her husband, Robert Nisley, worked on his parents’ ranch and soon got out of the ranching business. He then became an airline mechanic which brought them to Cheyenne. When they first came here there were no openings or jobs for an English instructor, so she worked for an attorney for a couple of years.
Five years later, she got an opportunity to work towards her master’s degree.
Rizwani started at LCCC as an adjunct for English in 2003. In 2004, a full-time position for an English instructor opened and she was hired for the job. For 12 years she was an English instructor.
“I would love to stay at LCCC until I have to retire,” Rizwani-Nisley said.
Rizwani-Nisley loves working with students, most of whom have diverse and unique stories. Rizani-Nisley was joking with some of her colleagues that she wants to be here until she can carry the mace during graduation.
“Even if I have to use a walker to help me down the aisle,” Riswani-Nisley said.
Now Rizwani-Nisley is an instructor for the Education program. She also speaks to schools and churches with her sister, Rakhshi Hamid, to inform people about Islam.
With everything Rizwani-Nisley has taught the public, whether it was teaching her students about English, doing speeches for women’s rights, talking to people about Islamic heritage, or practicing her beliefs, Rizwani was a great candidate for the award. Rizwani was granted the League of Women Voters Democracy award on Sep. 6 in the Supreme Court building.
“It was a real surprise but an honor because I really appreciated that they saw the value in the work my sister and I did for the schools and the churches,” Rizwani said.