I can't keep up. Feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by love and support of so many friends and colleagues, and overwhelmed and drowning in absolute straight hate. I am trying to work through emails filled with vitriol against me, my faith and my community.
You can't always tell by the subject line so you open it hoping someone has something uplifting to say. God would be ashamed. Kids feeling confused and anxious. You open texts from youth with screenshots of comments on local neighborhood Facebook groups filled with so much hate, incitement, and disdain for Islam, Muslims. They wonder why no one has the courage to speak up. They want to respond, I tell them not to feed the hate. I say this for their own well being not because we are afraid or because we don't have a response.
There's harassment of Muslim women on the streets. Recently, one Brooklyn woman was pushing a stroller with a baby and was accosted by a postal worker caught on surveillance. Another woman's cell phone was taken from her hands and thrown at her, others being spit on in the streets of their communities.
Threats to mosques across the country, hoax bombs left at doorstep of an Islamic institution in Virginia, vile headlines, calling for registering of Muslims in a database, closing borders to Muslim Syrians but open to Christians (how will they know, I don't know, it's just wrong), demanding unwarranted surveillance of mosques (um, we are already under surveillance).
Local leaders will say we are exaggerating. These are "anecdotes". They remain silent in the face of Hitler-esque rhetoric. They soak in their privilege of being far from the center of the storm, so as long as they are not impacted by it, it must not be real.
It's real. It hurts. Seeing Muslim sisters passing around self defense tips and national organizations distributing mosque safety kits. People warning each other not to stand too close to the train platforms. Don't be on your phones. Be on high alert, watch your surroundings. It's exhausting and scary as hell.
I am trying to stay above water. Trying not to drown in the poisonous pool of hate and ignorance. I am doing what I can, keeping my voice loud, writing the op-eds, making sure the media hears our voices and continuing my every day work in pursuit of justice not only for my own community but for my sister communities.
I am sad for those that respond to hateful, violent groups like ISIS with more hate and violent rhetoric. You are no better than the terrorists you claim to hate.
I am sadder for the silent majority. I wonder who you would have been in the era of slavery? During the civil rights movement? What is it that makes you go on with your life like everything is okay?
Donald Trump is no laughing matter. Islamophobia is not a made up phenomenon. Black Lives Matter protesters shot by White supremacists isn't a scene in a movie. This is real life.
All I can say to my sisters and brothers in the community is I love you. All we have is each other. Love and support one another.
I am still here. I will defend and protect my community with every thing that I have. Every. Thing. That includes my life.