Putting Words to My Feelings

I’ve woken up for the past eight years, regardless of what was going on in my personal life, proud to be an American. For my childhood and most of my adolescence, I have had the honor of watching a gracious man lead my country. The fact that he is black does not go over my head. I think about it often and I cry tears of joy when thinking about it. To him, I am grateful, as we all should be.

I cried myself to sleep the night of the election. I woke up the next morning still not truly believing what happened and not wanting to believe it. It’s been a tough few days, but I am starting to heal. I’ve decided that my pain and my tears and my anger and my fear will only be justified if I act on them. I will hold my head up high and continue fighting for what I believe in, as Hillary Clinton told me to do. She said that fighting for what’s right is always worth it, and I take her word for it. I am a teenage girl who lives in a country where less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. In this presidential election, a woman won the popular vote. To me, that is historic. That is the one part of this election that I am beyond proud of.

Somehow, this country, one that other nations look to as a beacon of progress, has made it uniquely difficult for a woman to become President. It hurts me to say that we have not broken that glass ceiling yet. To the women and girls in my life, I want you to know that you are important. Don’t be discouraged. Go out there and show the world how powerful and intelligent and strong you are. Don’t ever let anyone treat you with anything less than dignity and the utmost respect. I also want you to know that your dreams are never too big.

The election is over. There is nothing that can be done about the results. Even if we have lumps forming in our throats and tears forming in our eyes, we must accept it. I have taken these results as a sign that this country is divided and needs serious healing. This can only be done if we continue fighting for what is right.

I am a Bangladeshi Muslim American. The President-elect has said many horrific things about people of my faith. He’s said even worse things about other groups of people. For us, I am scared. I am fearful of the racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia that seems to be growing right now. My heart breaks for my country. I pray that we move forward towards progress. Hatred is never the answer and will only divide us further.

I am proud to see my countrymen and countrywomen fighting for their beliefs and using their freedoms of opinion and assembly through peaceful protests. I hope that this solidarity will strengthen our core values of advocating for justice, openness, and acceptance.

Hear our pain and listen to our fear. We are numb. Healing will take time, and it might take longer than four years. Our fear needs to be heard before we can be unified. Yes, we are stronger together. That means valuing everyone’s fundamental human rights. It means compromising without threatening our very humanity.

This election has taught me the tough lesson that things will not always go as planned. Sometimes, the result may feel like a punch in the face. Yes, I am in pain. Yes, I am in shock. Yes, I am in despair. I am doing my best not to lose faith in this country. I am trying to fathom why so many people voted for someone who has helped perpetuate hatred. I expected this election to go very differently since it was one deeply rooted in moral values and human decency. I was terribly wrong and for that, I am hurting.

The Quran tells me “verily, with every hardship, [there will be] ease.” I will ride this wave, but I won’t ever stop fighting. My passion for the protection of my values and my rights grows stronger every day. And at the end of the day, it will be worth it.I ask you to spread love to those around you and to always remember that all human beings are precious.

Also, I am honored to have been quoted in an Associated Press article about youth responses to the election. Read it here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/54c1e8e62e904ff3a64462825880974d/some-children-fearful-what-trump-presidency-will-mean

Inspiring social media posts:

https://twitter.com/TJRaphael/status/796396424304951296
https://twitter.com/jfreewright/status/796398258226610176
https://www.instagram.com/p/BMlT9fBh3EG/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/politics/van-jones-results-disappointment-cnntv/?sr=fbCNN110916van-jones-results-disappointment-cnntv0756AMVODtop
https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/796394920051441664

My favorite tweet quoted here (sorry for the kinda vulgar language):

“May the election of Trump bring forth the fiercest, smartest, toughest generation of ass-kicking women this country could possibly imagine.” — Jeffrey Wright

Originally published at aspiringactivist.weebly.com on 11/11/2016.