“At a time when others are trying to divide us along lines of religion or sect, we have to reaffirm that most fundamental of truths—we are all God’s children, all born equal with inherent dignity. So often we focus on outward differences, we forget how much we share.”
Hearing the political discourse and hateful language certainly has negative consequences, but it is also the spark that has empowered me and others like me to speak up and work together in ways we may not have before.
I have a three-year old boy and I had hoped, when I was growing up, that by the time he went through school, being Muslim would not feel so "weird" and "different" for him as it did for me -- that he would not have as much explaining to do.
America gave my parents opportunity to give my siblings and me a better life. I was taught to value its freedoms and pay-it-forward.
I’ve faced bigotry, stereotypes, and mistreatment in positions of employment, where I’m treated differently, mischaracterized, or my ability is questioned because of my faith or because of what I look like.
We all stood, raised our right hands and recited the Oath of Allegiance: “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
The heckler had no way of knowing that I was born and raised in Philadelphia to a family whose history in this country is as old as the nation itself.