This has been a tough week. Tuesday’s election results were not shocking to me, but they were disappointing. It was a reminder that many (mostly white) Americans hate people like me — a brown Muslim female, the child of immigrants. It was a reminder that for now, I have to continue to worry about the safety and humanity of my loved ones. That things haven’t quite changed and we still have a long way to go.
On Wednesday morning, my mom told me to wipe away my tears and be strong. An hour later, I was greeted by colleagues with hugs. And yes, I cried again. It was the first time I had embraced anyone since the previous night’s news, and it was a relief to once more be in the presence of people who have open minds and open hearts. Today, outside the church that hosts the local Muslim community for Friday prayers, I was greeted by a group of non-Muslims — friendly faces giving smiles and welcoming me in. May God bless them.
In his sermon today, the khateeb explained that the biggest gap exists between not knowing and doing:
The only thing Allah has given us power over is our minds. You’re going to be asked about what you did and how you responded…
You consider yourself something small, but within you is the entire universe.
How do we take that inner universe and use it to take action? To fight fear? To do good? This fall marks 40 years since my dad first came to this country, seeking better education and opportunity. When I asked him yesterday how he was feeling, he told me that he still has hope, hope in the goodness of people. Before I hung up the phone, he reminded me as he always does, “Be brave.” That’s what I aim to do.
I am going to keep working hard, speaking up, getting to know others and having faith. And I ask others to stand with me and my brothers and sisters of all colors, creeds, genders and sexual orientations here and around the world — not just now in the aftermath of the election but at all times.
Whether it’s online or in person, use your power to tear down walls. Support the BLM movement. Stand with Standing Rock. Welcome immigrants and refugees with open arms. Have interfaith dialogue. Serve your community. Engage with your children’s teachers and other parents. Listen and see and read and understand. Be enraged but also have love. I implore you to use your mind for goodness.
Grieve now, but don’t lose hope. Know that change begins with you, with me, with all of us together. What happened this week, this year, this decade has not broken me or those I hold dear. If there’s one thing that Leslie Knope has taught me, it’s this:
I am big enough to admit that I am often inspired by myself.
Love and strength, y’all.