Muna Hussaini is a community activist and mother along with managing the Inclusion & Diversity Programs for PayPal and is a member of the City of Austin/Travis County Hate Crimes Task Force. In this op-ed for USA Today, she writes about her personal experiences with hate-crimes and how she is trying to protect her children. Here are some snippets from her powerful piece:
— As a parent, I cringe knowing I cannot protect my children from hate… it took me years to come to terms with how to deal with hate.
— I was 22 the first time I was attacked for being Muslim. After 9/11, I was run off the road while driving, yelled at and humiliated on a plane, spit on and cursed at. My crime was being a visible Muslim woman who wore a headscarf…. I sometimes think about the old man who verbally attacked me and mostly humiliated me on that plane. I also wonder about the flight attendants and all of the people who watched and did nothing. But I mostly wonder about the woman who held me in the aftermath of that threatening confrontation.
— Of course my baby boy loves garbage trucks. And, yes, my baby girl plays sports. And they both love professional soccer player Lionel Messi, a Catholic, but also Paul Pogba, a Muslim. And wow, you never realized a Muslim could be funny?
— It has taken me years to heal. And sometimes, I’m still shocked by how simple and powerful personal connection can be. Every time I tell my story, I rip my scabs open again. And I will continue to do it if it means changing even one person’s heart or mind. Until every heart is open and every mind is willing, I will show up and do the work to help us see past our differences.