Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Reflections: this is OUR America!

Image result for flag


Yesterday I took my children to a protest.  We were welcomed with open arms, hearts and minds.  We were overwhelmed at the amount of support and love that we felt from total strangers.  From people saying, "If they come for you, they better make room for me" to "Thank you for being here".  This is the America that we believe in. This is the country that people fought to protect and make great.  We were never not-great...we have always been great.   Yes, we have had our rocky moments to greatness, but to say that this Orange Troll and his posse can make us "great again" is ridiculous.  This took centuries to perfect.  Through their hate, 45 has made us see our greatness. I'm not giving this joker any credit, but I am saying, "Wow America, how WE shine!"  We need to stay resolute and strong. 

Through his hate, I have held tighter to my hijab.  My hijab has always been my religious statement, but now it is a political one as well.  Through their hate I know that we are right.  We are stronger than them.  We will always be stronger than them.  There is always hope.  There is always strength in numbers...and our numbers far outweigh theirs! 

Without immigrants America would not and could not be America.  Keep banning Muslims and see who will save your life in ERs. Keep banning us and see patriotism, kindness and love slip through your tiny little hands.

Always and Forever a Fighter
Peace be with you all,

Mona

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March 2017

Today, I attended one of the hundreds of marches around the country and the world.  Although I wish I could have been in DC with millions of others, I'm happy I was able to attend one close to my university.  While I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people at that march, I know it was dwarfed compared to some of the bigger marches around the country.  Chicago had to change their march to a rally because the turnout was so big, they couldn't actually march!  Needless to say that it was comforting to know that I am not alone, and I am accompanied by the millions of others that attended the marches, as well as those in their homes that couldn't attend, but cheer us on.  This is a collection of photos of people I met at the march.  I asked each of them to share their main motivation for attending and/or how they felt being there.  Although I wish I had been able to get in more interviews, these are all the ones I gathered.  Enjoy!  I hope the marches you attended were as amazing and inspiring as mine!

"It was a very good march, it exceeded my expectations, and I have been in marches since 1964."
Mirta, 70
"I was there to support equality for women and I felt like I was doing so being there."
Grace, 15

"I was there to support women's rights and the women in my life in the face of what America has become lately. I felt involved, like I was actually doing something."
Charlie, 15
"As a disabled American, the healthcare issue affects me most, and this is a way for me to show support with my nation against these changes."
Meghan, 32
"I feel like there's a lot to fight for in NC and in the country, so we need to make our voices heard."
Madhu, 24

"I feel like it's a civic duty, to show up and show the world what we believe in, and in this instance, we don't believe a lot of the things the president and the current congress have proposed are ok, so we need to stand up."
Alex, 24
"I just think it's important to be a part of something that's this big, to stand with everyone and to feel like you're a part of a group, to know that we're all in this, and we are the people who run this country."
Maria, 41
"It's like Michelle Obama said, when it's the first time in a long time where we feel like we don't have any hope. I'm here for myself as well as my daughter, because all the things he's proposed against Muslims, such as the bans, such as carrying ID cards are all discriminatory and they have no place in America."
Holly, 33
"I'm feeling really powerful right now, seeing so many people, women, using their voice for democracy. I've been doing this for 15 years, and it makes me very sad that we still don't have equal rights for Black America, Immigrant America, and even Female America."
Janna, 68
"The fact that America has allowed a man like Donald Trump into the White House, and it's hurtful and harmful and appalling that so many people have stood behind him despite everything that he has done."
Paige, 13
"We shouldn't have elected a president that treats women and views women in the way that he does, and it breaks my heart that it will be the first president my daughter remembers. I want us to do what we can to make things better!"
Angela, 45, and Lily, 7

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Aleppo

Fathers and mothers beg for the safety of their children.
They implore religious leaders if killing their children would be permissible to save them from rape and murder
Our purest of pure, this is their reality
Hate infiltrating their places of peace among the rubble
Wondering how they will ever escape
Feeling overwhelmed with the idea of safety
They cuddle in their protectors’ arms
The arms of protectors that feel that they have failed their little ones
“Why did I even have you? I am so sorry that I brought you into this world.”
When will their lives change?
Exhausted and cold
The soldiers are coming today
There is no celebrating
“They should be our peace”
“Instead they are our end”
Realizing that the only way for change is for death to knock on their doors

Across the lands and over the seas, people sit and watch in disbelief
They listen to the story of these people, dispossessed and slaughtered
Hearts aching to help, not knowing how
Screaming across their screens with words of disgust, fearfulness, sadness and prayers
Not able to do anything, yet able to do something
Caught in the onslaught of information
Growing more and more impatient with the world
Blood pressure rising, body feeling sick
We either find a way to do something or do nothing at all
Most times than not, we begin to ignore

What will happen when we are the victims,
What will happen when people watch our murders from the other side of that screen
Sitting at picnics and dinners, thinking how these stories burn, “but those aren’t my people”
“They aren’t me, and they are so far away.”
“7,000 miles away…..the shrapnel won’t hit me.”
Except that it already has and there is a rumbling coming this way.
We are one body.
When one part aches
Surely, the other parts fall into the same wounded rhythm.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Color

Color

She sat looking out into a world full of color

Thinking to herself what a beautiful sight it was
It spoke of the ebb and flow of diversity 
But at times the color would change
This change caused her great unease
Enjoying the colors yet fearing them all the same
The new colors in her spectrum were changing 
They were no longer vibrant, they were muggy, swampy - red
As people moved back and forth in their daily routines
She realized that she was one of the few that could see
She felt deep in her heart, a strange worry, and that feeling only grew
It was a worry that she had only read about
A bitter worry, yearning to be able to do something
yet not being able to do anything.
Thinking of how to make the color change from red
People  kept telling her to stop talking about the problem
“The problems cannot envelop your life”, they cheerfully said
“Look at the otter on the screen and be happy instead”
The color slowly fading
The drug of being lethargic only grew with the people who saw no color
They never saw the warning signs
They pushed us into the gates
They locked us all in
And all of a sudden they all started to see the colors

that they so fervently tried to negate

By: Mona Banawan