By Matthew Jackson, Opinion Editor
Throughout history, it has always been a necessity for leaders to rise up against the injustices of society. As the United States remembers the historic civil rights movement and commemorates the life of one of it’s greatest voices, Martin Luther King Jr., this last Monday, it is important that we recognize prejudice and fear of diversity exist in the modern day.
In the past (and present), it has often been that a fear of change or a threat to “life as we know it” is to be perceived as an attack on the American dream. It is not unnatural for human beings in our imperfect state to fear change. However, it is crucial that we do not embrace that fear and instead fight against the grip it may hold over our lives.
At a recent rally for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign Rose Hamid stood up against the injustice she perceived to exist in Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering into the United States. This idea has proven popular among many Americans who fear radical Islam expanding into the United States through the Syrian refugee crisis. However, the concept of banning a particular people group as a whole has sparked a more deep-rooted fear of Middle Eastern culture and those who are perceived to be a part of it.
This fear in particular is what Rose Hamid chose to stand up against. As Hamid stood silently while wearing her hijab, the supporters of the Republican presidential hopeful began to aggressively chant his name. As CNN has reported, those attending the rally were encouraged to do so by the campaign’s staff. As the crowd grew to be belligerent towards Hamid and her husband, the couple and another protester were calmly escorted out by the security staff. While the behavior of more aggressive attendees yelling, “You have a bomb,” was shocking, the most astonishing part of the protest remained the consistently poised behavior of Hamid and her husband.
This style of peaceful protesting is what has persistently been effective in the past, and continues to be so in the present. Hamid’s silence in the midst of chaos has been remarked as exemplary by those who are weary of Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies. In an interview with CNN following the rally Hamid first complimented the initial kindness of those who were sitting around her. However, she explained how the tide quickly changed as those who sided with Trump’s controversial immigration ban became the louder voice. It was at this moment that a majority of rallyists were reminded of the fear such propaganda has instilled in them.
A lesson that can be taken from Hamid’s effort is this, a difference of skin tone or religious ideals does not qualify a spirit of meanness from a religious or ethnic majority. While it is important for the United States to remain vigil of any threat at home or abroad, it is also crucial for our nation to remember the ideals we were founded upon. Ideals that consist of good will to all who enter our borders with the true American dream in mind; the dream of being a part of a land that prospers and promotes diversity, not one that fears it.
In a time where threats are prevalent in all areas of the world, I believe that our nation is best served in holding strongly to these founding ideals. As it has in the past, an increased acceptance of cultural diversity will rise to prominence in the United States, and a united front that promotes harmony in the midst of diversity will strengthen us. As the shirt of Hamid read, “Salam, I come in peace.”