Today is March 21 and that means it is Nowruz, the first day of spring and the beginning of a New Year for Muslims all around the world. We don’t have a symbolic animal that defines the year for us like the Chinese do, but let’s just say that biriyani is a pretty great representative of my people, every year.
Today, I also received the brilliant news that I will be serving on the inaugural Provost’s Committee for Diversity at Georgetown University. This leads me to think about New Year resolutions and my role as an educated Muslim woman living in a society that is in flux when it comes to diversity. Recently I am being asked questions about ISIS, women’s rights in Islam, and the authenticity of “modern Muslims.” As a New Yorker, my knee-jerk reaction is to give a swift eye roll and to recommend reading a book or making more friends of different backgrounds. The gut feeling I get, much like when you are walking down a dark ally at night, is that I am being classified as belonging to a socio-religious malady or a stereotype. Sometimes it is the most difficult thing, to talk about oneself.
This New Year, I resolve to not assume the antagonism of others. I resolve to not assume prejudice against myself. Lastly, I resolve to remain persistently open, even if it is uncomfortable or uneasy. I’ve realized that treating the world like a kindergarten friends circle is the way to go. Inclusion and openness beyond anything else, is the best thing for us all, and I can’t wait to work for greater harmony in diversity at Georgetown University.
Inclusion goes beyond race and religion, it encompasses culture as well. To show my feelings of positivity today, I want to share a beautiful pink lace and black velvet salwar kameez for Nowruz. It is a balance of dark and light, soft and hard, old world (the jewelry) and new world (the chest bling). If a dress embodies my state of mind this Nowruz, this is it.