In this op-ed for Teen Vogue, Isra Chaker, Refugee Campaign Lead with Oxfam America in Washington, D.C., explains her journey from being discriminated in high school to becoming an activist and fighting the Muslim ban.
Here are some snippets from her powerful piece:
— “At 14 years old, my school days were filled with students calling me ‘terrorist,’ classmates trying to rip off my hijab or poking me in the head with a stick. To them, I was an outsider even though I spoke the same language as they did. I wore the same clothes. I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, just like they were… None of this mattered because I was visibly Muslim.”
— “My personal experiences with bullying, discrimination, and harassment ever since I put on the hijab have now turned into my source of motivation to be an unapologetic Syrian-American Muslim woman and lead with my voice to create positive change in the world.”
— “I grew up spending my summers visiting my extended family in Syria, playing with my cousins and bouncing on the laps of my aunts and uncles. But I haven’t been able to see any of them since the conflict there broke out seven years ago, and now, the ‘Muslim ban’ prevents me from being reunited with them here in my home, the United States.”
— “As refugee campaign lead at Oxfam America, I devote each and every day to finding new and creative ways to counter this administration’s xenophobic policies and practices, especially their attacks on refugees, asylum-seekers, and other vulnerable families, with all my might.”
— “I am convinced we can make a difference. Just like in the first days of the Muslim ban, when so many Americans of all ages and all walks of life showed up at airports across the country to take a stand, we will organize, and we will use our voice.”