The summer of 2014, my family took a trip to Texas because my sister and I wanted to see where we were born. This picture is outside the research lab my dad spent countless hours in while working on his PhD in the late 1980s. My mom and dad were newly married and she would spend time with him here since he was in school full-time and also working.
My sister and I were born 14 months apart and my parents struggled financially for years to support us. My dad pushed through school and we moved to Michigan. My mom went to college for the second time and finished her degree. I watched her study day and night with an English-to-Bangla dictionary. She had to work ten times harder than a native English speaker, yet she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
My parents have been working in, living in, and contributing to this country for about 30 years now. They embody who true American citizens should be. I know most of my friends’ parents worked just as hard to give us all such blessed lives. They don’t deserve this and neither do we.
Right now, I just can’t come to terms with the fact that this country elected a president that has said things to dehumanize me, my parents, Muslims, women, people of color, immigrants, disabled people, and other marginalized groups. I don’t consider myself naive, but I really underestimated the number of misogynists, racists, ableists, xenophobes, rape apologists, anti-lgbt+ people, and self-hating marginalized people in this country. They are the ones that scare me more than Trump.
I’m so worried for my mom, sister and friends who proudly and visibly wear their faith on their heads. How can I protect them from the wild Islamophobic bigots this election cycle has so vigorously empowered? I’m also worried about everyone that has been victimized by Trump and Trump’s supporters.
If anything, this is a wake-up call. America’s problematic core is bare for the world to see. This election cycle exposed those who never had our backs to start with. I’m looking at those of you with the privilege of looking past all of the problematic, dehumanizing things Trump has said and the rest of you telling people to get over it and stop posting about the election results. The whitelash is real.
I know a lot of us are scared, but now more than ever, we need to do better and speak out for each other even when it’s uncomfortable. This is still our America, the America that my parents and so many of your parents sacrificed everything for, and no one better get away with treating us otherwise. We, people from marginalized communities, know how to persevere better than anyone else, and I’m going to continue to be unapologetically Muslim for the next four years.
Original Post: Medium