Tomorrow we start rehearsals and I keep coming back to the thought that I am not the one who should be doing this project. Here’s this Jersey-born Catholic white girl, what right does she have to even think she can tell the story of what it’s like to be a Muslim in the United States right now.
I can’t. I lead, and have led a very privileged life. I have not been the direct object of any kind of -ism. I have not been directly called names, stereotyped, or been made to feel afraid to do anything solely based on what I look like to sound like. Quite the opposite in fact. How I look and what assumptions people make based on how I look have on several occasions awarded me much better treatment.
It pains my heart to hear their stories and know it’s true. There are 6 year old girls afraid to go to school because other kids call them terrorists. There are sisters afraid for their little brothers. There are girls who will not walk to school in the neighborhood they grew up in.
This is wrong and it should not be happening. But people don’t know their stories. Their voices cannot be heard over the noise of fear being generated by the adults in this world. Adults that should know better. Adults that should nurture and care for our children. Adults that should create safe places for them, not environments of fear.
I know in my heart these girls’ voices must be heard. I want to create the space for that to happen. I hope their stories and their passions and their loves take over and I can disappear into the background.