Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Resisting/Existing/Persisting

I started this post two weeks ago:

These days existing means resisting, but that can be exhausting. As my dear friend said recently, "You are a Muslim woman in America. Everything you do is a protest." I see that. Everything I do combats the idea of islamophobia just by my existing and persisting in this country as it actively turns against Muslims.

The President fulfilled a campaign promise last week to ban (some) Muslims from entering the country. There are details that seem to matter to some but not to me. (This country versus that, majority versus minority religion, safety!) I guarantee you when our grandkids learn about this time in American history, it will just be called the Muslim ban.

My kids and I watched the protests at US airports last week. Legal US residents, green card holders, refugees, children, and visa-holding travelers were either deported or detained at airports across the country. I taught my children about what was happening. I taught them that the world can be unfair but it is the responsibility of every person who can see the problems to stand up and try to get the problems fixed. I roughly explained what was happening. Zayd asked me of this would be a problem for Nana. I said no. I turned it over in my head and thought about all of the ways that we are still among the lucky ones. But I just said no.

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I didn't post that then.

This week, I told my kids that we were going to a #nobannowall rally. I explained the wall and it's intent. I talked about my values, namely diversity and generosity, and how they resonate to me with regard to the wall. We talked again about the ban. I explained to them that I believe America is great because it is made up of so many different people with different perspectives.

They asked me if something would happen to Joe. I said no. I thought about how he was randomly stopped and  asked to provide proof of legal status by ICE last week while immigration officers were sweeping through central Texas conducting raids. But I just said no.

They were excited to make signs for the rally and I was really proud of their engagement. We were late and didn't rally for very long but I think my kiddos are doing quite enough for their young selves.

We're working on knowing the balance. They should know that America is built on ambitious ideals but that we often fall short. They should know that the color of your skin or your religion shouldn't affect your freedom or opportunity but that it often does. They should know how far this great county has come and that not one bit of that growth came easy or without cost.

This weekend we did our part. As I brace for the next Muslim ban, I pray that I keep up the courage and immense strength it takes to calmly explain to my kids that though this is not OK, mommy is working in all the ways I know how to make it better. Calling those in power. Peacefully demonstrating. Advocating everywhere my voice can carry. And I will tell them that they are safe. There are things I will think about and worry over. But I will just say that they are safe.

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