My dearest friends, I began this post with something that many people, including myself, don’t want to hear: that things are going to be okay.
With one addition: Only as long as we remain vigilant and active.
I’ve watched my groups be affected. Islamophobia has spiked, is rampant, and will not decline anytime soon. Finding out that two mosques were burned down across the country in one week almost broke me, if I’m going to be honest. When my people get terrorized, who is there to say something about it? The room is quiet but a few whispers.
And then there is the future of mental health. With the repeal of ACA, I don’t know how many people I serve will lose their access to mental health treatment, and that kills me. I’m brought to tears every time I think about it. What happens to those with mental health conditions who need new insurance without the protections of ACA? As it stands, that could mean that they will lose access to desperately needed treatment. Which, honestly, could mean that people will die.
For me to fixate on these things — without doing anything about them — means that I would lose sight of the bigger picture. I know that I am one of the few, or only, mental health advocates and Muslim people that many people know. I need to remain strong, to be that example, to show that my groups are strong people. My fellow Muslims, mentally ill, and women are all far stronger than me, and I must represent them to the greatest of my ability.
So with that I just focus on what I can do now. Continue to advocate. Try my best to stay updated on politics. Take some time at least once per month to just sit down and make calls or write emails. Write a blog post every once in awhile (no promises though). Do not divide myself from people I care about because of political differences; seek to understand and work together. The list goes on.
I have to stay strong and know that it’s not over. Is it not so encouraging to see how many people are speaking up and becoming politically active? We cannot deny that if we look back in history and note that regardless of what’s happening, we have in fact made progress, and we will never regress to the point where we have slaves, segregation, and complete inequality for women ever again. Never.
Remember, we always have the opportunity to make history.
I love you all. Whether you are feeling dismayed, sad, depressed, horrified, angry, the same, better, or worse as me, apathetic, ambivalent, or hopeful — I support you. I swear to myself, that in the end, it WILL be okay.