On 11/9 I awoke to find my world changed. I recognized a resurgence of the feelings of dread that filled the pit of my stomach on 9/11. On 9/11, I worried about the security of my children. On 11/9 I worried about the security of my grandchildren. The notion that our nation is divided and that so many support a platform that spews hatred towards minorities-women, Muslims, Jews, Latinos, LGBTQs, African Americans and the disabled, is hard to grasp. Since the results of the election, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, the organization for which I am the co-founder and executive director, has received hundreds of requests from Muslim and Jewish women all over the U.S. asking for advice and requesting membership. In our state of shock and concern, it is very easy to lose sight of the more than half of the population that is dedicated to a life of harmony and peace.
It is okay to fear. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to question. But, these feelings must give way to the healing power that is within each of us. The need to come together is now stronger than ever before. It is absolutely critical that we are unified and committed to tirelessly work to protect the values of this Country. We are blessed to live in a democracy and it was the democratic process that allowed all of us to have the right to vote in the 2016 election. It was this democratic process in the mid-50's to mid-60's, that gave way to the civil rights movement. Now is the time to become part of a new movement for social change, one that will give voice to those of us who feel especially threatened right now.
There is so much that each of us can do. Start with a commitment to doing your part to educate the ignorant, to be an upstander to hate and bigotry and to be the voice of those who are too scared to speak. Each of us has a role to play in order to ensure that we have a United States that upholds the highest regard for freedom, diversity and the protection of human rights. Turn to your clergy and gather in your house of worship. Organize at the local level. Call on your elected officials to organize solidarity vigils with the commitment to stand up to hate.
Join organizations at the national level. You are surrounded by organizations that will not sit idly by should any of our leaders and/or officials attempt to deny the rights and the freedom that any of us have as Americans. Seek out membership or involvement in organizations such as The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, The Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc, Border Angels, and CAIR. Harness the power of social media and share your narrative with the online community. Do not hesitate to report acts of hate and ensure that your local law enforcement is responsive. Organizations such as Muslim Advocates and the Southern Poverty Law Center provide resources for reporting suspected hate crimes.
During Senator Clinton's last address to the American people she said "Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it." I encourage you to keep believing and to hold onto the hope that out of the darkness there is light.