I teach at Marshall University. I’ve taught hundreds of students in my seven years there, but today there is one student in particular who is on my mind. Let’s call her M.
My class with M starts first thing in the morning. She usually rushes in a few minutes late, after dropping her son off at daycare. During our breaks from class, she and I often talk about our children and their mutual obsession with the show “PJ Masks.” Her son pretends to be Catboy or Gekko, but he really wishes he could fly like Owlette. M’s face lights up when she talks about her son.
M already has a bachelor’s degree, but she wants to go for her master’s. She’s busy applying to different schools around the country. She’s scheduled a date to take the GRE, but she feels unprepared. I can see how worried she is; how much she just wants things to be settled.
M is just like you and me. She loves her family and friends. She has goals and she works toward them.
M is also a Muslim.
When I saw the image of the anti-Muslim poster displayed at the Capitol, when I heard that the now former House sergeant at arms allegedly likened all Muslims to terrorists, my heart broke. I cried. I thought of M. How could anyone mistake her for a terrorist?
I believe, underneath the hate lies fear, and we fear what we do not know. Please take the time to get to know all of your neighbors, not just the ones who look or think like you do.
I wholeheartedly affirm my love and support for my Muslim brothers and sisters. Let’s work together to create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone in our Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.