I woke up today completely committed to creating a world of equity and inclusion. It pains me to my core to see the election results. But sadly, I’m also telling myself, “well – what was once the hidden opinion of many is now explicit.”
I’m going to be honest, I keep fighting down the fear and anxiety that I feel in my stomach, my heart, and pretty much all over. Fear for myself as a (white passing) Muslim and for all those the Trump nation targeted and fear mongered in their campaign.
And then another part of me keeps saying things like, “Allah is with those whose hearts are torn.” And “Don’t let them grind you down.” And “They gave us lemons and we made lemonade.”
And I think of the thousands and thousands of young people I’ve worked with and how passionate and dedicated they are to being inclusive leaders. And how change work is a long game, and our future looks bright in that regard.
Whenever I feel myself losing hope, I go back to what I learned from one of the greatest leaders I know – Diane Burbie. And how she taught me that in moments like this we have to get grounded in our belief in people’s ability to change.
And so for me, I am renewing that belief. I believe in the process of diverse groups of people coming together to dialogue and relationship build. I have seen the process transform someone from being a neo-nazi to an activist for peace. I have seen students who were once homophobic have a transformation and become active leaders in their Gay Straight Alliance.
I think of all those who at one time wanted to kill Prophet Muhammad and who later become one of his greatest followers. I think of Paul on the road to Damascus. How he was at one time one of the most feared tyrants, becoming an advocate for peace.
And many, many more big and small examples come to mind.
All that to say, in moments like right now, when despair is right at my front door, I’m getting really grounded in my belief that transformation is possible. And I’m renewing my commitments.
I commit first and foremost to the journey of self-awareness and personal responsibility. Of uprooting my own biases and learned behaviors and striving to be inclusive in my beliefs and actions. Secondly I commit to using my privilege, leadership and influence to challenge and confront bias and bigotry, and work towards making the world a place of inclusion and equity.
In the spirit of complete honesty, writing for me is cathartic. It is how I process. And in large part that is what this is. I appreciate you allowing me the space to do so in a public way. I know that it can be helpful seeing what folks in our community are thinking right now. And so I decided to share with you my journal entry for today.
I conclude in prayer. With two of my favorite verses in the Qur’an,
“They plot and they plot. But Allah plans too. And Allah is the best of planners.”
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of people until they change themselves.”