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Major life lesson- My eyes are opened to subtleties of racism

By Katrisha Milligan 

Today (World Hijab Day) was a beautiful day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s life, even for just one day. There are very few people that are indifferent to the hijab and I experienced both sides today.

Major life lesson- My eyes are opened to subtleties of racism. In my mind, racism is big hate filled gestures. I saw today that those incidents are rare. It takes the form of passive actions. It’s opening my own door a lot more than normal. It is someone’s eyes to the floor in the elevator. It’s the lady behind me at Kroger stepping back and white knuckling her cart when I turned around and smiled (what did she think I was going to do, attack her with my Flonase?!?!?!). It breaks my heart to know that people experience actions like this everyday. It has strengthened my resolve to choose love and be kind to everyone.

The counter energy to the racism is love. There are a lot of kind and gentle people. This was also very subtle but obvious. It was a girl catching my eye and giving me a warm smile. It was a compliment on my beautiful scarf. It was a thumbs up as he walked by my cube while I was on a call. It strengthened my resolve to be visible in my activism (this is soooooo hard for me. I want to be kindness to be anonymous).

The best part of my day was lunch. After I hid all my crazy hair, my eyebrows were all like, “OMG, look at me!!!!” So I went to have them threaded. Once the lady realized why I was wearing the hijab, she told everyone else in the salon. We talked a little about right of choice. She asked to take a picture with me and to post it. She was so happy to have a champion for her rights and they were all very gracious for support. I could see the worry and tension on their faces melt away, if only for a few moments when they were in the presence of an ally. This strengthened my resolve to be kind, always fight injustice, #RiseUp and #Resist.

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