Right now, being a Muslim woman is hard. Right now, Muslim women have every right to be angry. Right now, Muslim women are tired of white people telling them it’s going to be okay. Right now, Muslim women are completely and utterly over people telling them that they were overreacting about the election when they said they felt that their safety in America was compromised, especially when this: this: and this: is happening, among so many other hateful actions. Right now, Muslim women are conflicted by articles like this one that teach people how to handle a situation in which someone sees Islamophobia because on the one hand it’s great to want to help out during an awful situation, but on the other hand we shouldn’t have guides on how to be a decent human being and on the other hand this would be another potential situation where the marginal person relies on the powerful person for help. Right now, Muslim women wonder what kind of bullying their children might be facing at school when their child comes home with stories of other children harassing them with “Trump wants you gone.” Right now, Muslim women fear for the children of others when, in our own Albemarle High School, kids chant “Go back to Mexico.” Right now, Muslim women worry about what will happen to institutions that care about women. Right now, Muslim women are confused and hurt by how fifty-three percent of white women voted for someone who doesn’t know how to respect them. Right now, Muslim women cannot stand it when they are told that discrimination existed before the election results because now the bigots feel justified in their bigotry. Right now, Muslim women don’t give a shit about empathizing with the other side. Right now, Muslim women are validated in their fears that they are not accepted in the country they fought hard to be in. Right now, we wonder what kind of environment we live in when we see those on our own Grounds chanting “build that wall” or anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-Semitic slurs written on our spaces or police using their own equipment to celebrate the election. Right now, Muslim women in our own Charlottesville are afraid. Right now, Muslim women stand in solidarity. Right now, we will stand with Muslims, LGBTQ identifying persons, people of color, women, and other groups that have been targeted not only during this election period, but throughout their entire lives. We will question, we will educate, and we will be educated. Right now, you can help. It’s cool that you wear a safety pin - people do need to know that they’re not alone - but let’s go the extra mile. Do something local. Volunteer at the Women’s Center, Planned Parenthood, the Shelter for Help in Emergency, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, get Safe Space trained, go to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, participate in the Eliminate the Hate campaign this week, go to the DREAMer’s UndocuALLY Training, go to the NoDAPL Teach-In and Vigil. There is no shortage of activism at UVa. Need some more guidance? Help protect your rights here and here’s another list of organizations you can get involved with. Confused about what you can do about bigotry? Here’s a list of things you can do to combat discriminatory actions in every step of your life from dealing with stubborn relatives to retail racism. Report a bias incident at UVa here. Take care of yourself right now. Get the hell off Twitter and Facebook, don’t engage in any political discussion. Listen to some good bops and hang out with people that you love and that love you regardless of your opinions. Right now, it’s okay to not be okay.
Note from the Editors:
On the first day of every semester, without fail, students are handed the single most powerful document, with all of its power to define and re-define the entire next 4 months - the syllabus. But syllabi are rigid, and the real-world is turbulent. These past weeks were turbulent, and the next few years are unpredictable.
As women, as students, as academics, and as human beings, we find ourselves unsure and lost. I urge us to truly be thinking young women and acting young women, as we seek a sense of community and order. No sociology reading or chemistry text book is so far removed from the real-world that it can be isolated within a classroom, and no syllabus is engraved in stone. Draw the connections, note the history, and observe the changes. And please, please, please! Allow yourself to stray from the syllabus, from your fast-track to corporate America, and from your 19-step handbook to resume building. Reality is worth a pause. Just a moment to think and to process.
Muslim or not, minority or not, fearful or not, we all share the responsibility to show compassion, empathy, and love. Love your body, love your neighbor, and love your fellow women. As Rumi wrote, "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray".