Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Birthday Wish

I posted this last Friday on my birthday and it garnered a lot of likes and positive reactions on Facebook. In light of all that has happened in the last few weeks, I had to unload some of the heaviness in my heart. Thank you for reading.

"Today is my birthday, yet on my way to work I had tears running down my face. Black people fearing for their lives, Muslims fearing for their lives, LGBTQ communities fearing for their lives, police officers fearing for their lives, innocent people around the world going about their day fearing attacks and slaughter. So much violence, pain and fear.

I was at Eid prayer this past Wednesday in a park in my hometown. The Muslim community has grown so large that we cannot all fit in the mosque, so we had our morning prayer in a public park. The day as beautiful, sunny and peaceful. Yet my heart was dark and cloudy with dread. I looked up as people began to pray and noticed that there were men from the mosque posted around the prayer group, scanning the environment. I realized that instead of praying they were playing the part of security, trying to ensure our safety. My sister even whispered to me before that "do you think they hired security?". Security. For a peaceful prayer at a park in America.

I mourn for the black community, I have never stopped mourning for the black community. I have worked alongside my brothers and sisters from this community since I was 16. My heart is heavy with devastation after seeing the two videos that are in a long line of execution videos, because the systems that criminalize the crime of too much melanin in our skin will not admit their mistakes, they will not concede the need for change.

I mourn today for police officers who were gunned down in Dallas. I have great regard for police that do serve and protect their communities. Once my mother was lost on the highway and flagged down a police officer for help because she didn't know how to get home. When he told her how, she realized she didn't have toll money and the police gave her money for her toll. She was so grateful to him for his generosity and help. On the other end, my husband, who is of Latino background has been routinely profiled and stopped for no other reason than the fact that he was Latino, and based on that alone he was handcuffed to the side of the road and had his car searched because they thought he had drugs. My husband was a Marine, he even has a Marine sticker on his car.

I mourn my community in Bangladesh, as they reel from a terrorist attack in an area full of family members and friends and where my parents lived before immigrating to this country. I mourn for Syria, Baghdad and Turkey. I mourn for Orlando and for the LGBTQ community that have shared their safe spaces with me, no questions asked.

I mourn for all the families, parents, children, siblings and friends who have lost and are losing people here and abroad to anger, violence and rage.

In the end all I can hope for is that each one of us works to make the world a better place in the realization that peace, equality, and empathy are all values we can carry and act on, not only in our daily lives, in our work and in our efforts for justice but also something we demand from the institutions that govern our lives.

You aren't supposed to tell people your birthday wish but that is my wish, this and every birthday."


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