Cradled Wood/Deep Dish
Azmeena grew up in Flint, Michigan, with three siblings and a very strict father. Being Muslim, her life was religion first, studies second, and house chores third. As a child she had a hard time fitting in with the mainstream kids in school. Although, she hadn’t begun to wear the Hijab yet, she still felt the sting of being “othered” by her white classmates. Taunting and harassment was all that she knew in middle school and because of her olive skin and long dark hair, the white kids didn’t know what she was. She found herself being called anything and everything, from beaner to sand-nigger. Being young, she didn’t know what those words meant. All she knew is that she wasn’t accepted.
Her mother tried to comfort her by explaining the ignorance of the white kids and that she was a proud, Muslim young lady and that one day she would understand.
When Azmeena was accepted into Yale, she was a far cry from the little girl who ran home to her mother crying after school. She was no longer an outsider; She wore her Hijab proudly. She formed a group on campus for Muslim women; A group that empowered Muslim women and educated those that didn’t understand them.
Her confidence in herself and her religion stopped the bullying that she would no longer take on as her own misgiving. Azmeena finally understood her mother’s words.