My father came to this country thirty-five years ago. He started off going to school to become an aviation technician while mopping the floors of a Chinese restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska. Today, he owns three successful businesses, real estate across the country and a beautiful home in the suburbs.
My mother was born in Iowa. She grew up on a peach orchard owned by her immigrant Oma and Opa from Frankfurt. She converted to Islam when she was 15 years old, and today, she is a college student, an interfaith speaker, an Islamic studies teacher, and an advocate of women’s rights.
My mom and dad moved to Denver back in the 80’s- they where some of the first Muslims in this community. They used to make Arabic pastries in their small apartment and would sell them on Fridays at the mosque, saving the pennies they made. My father worked nights making donuts and days selling them, until he was managing three Winchells across Denver. My mother went on to raise 2 children and work with my pops in building up their empire. They got a house in the suburbs and had 3 more kids after opening up one of the first Middle Eastern restaurants in Denver using the pennies they made from hard work.
My parents are the epitome of the American dream. An immigrant who became a successful business man, a woman who converted to Islam and became an educator and activist; they created five children and taught them the Islamic values they need to be good citizens of this country.
I thought I’d be more afraid of this election’s results, but I’m not. I thought I’d be hopeless, but somewhere in the Denver General Hospital is a copy of the birth certificate that certifies that my name is “Hope”.
I chose the Hijab and I chose Islam, but I was given a passion for doing the good it taught me. I chose America, but I was also given this country. And therefore, I must combine my choices with the things God assigned me to carry out this daunting task.
Donald Trump won’t make America “great again”. I’m the one who made it great. My parents made it great. Their parents and their parents’ parents all the way across the oceans and centuries made it great. Our community, our people, our activists, our Ellis Island survivors, our Underground Railroad architects, our singing slaves on the plantations, our ethnic studies teachers, our Homeless people’s advocates, our immigration lawyers, our poets and journalists and farmers- they made it great.
When we leave our homes the day he moves in to the White House, we will remember this. We will do what our ancestors have done and make sure we don’t stop dreaming up our American dream. We don’t take lessons from the Bigoted Sandman. We dream up, bring up, live up, and grassroots our way to the top of the America we were given. To the top of the America we chose.