For the last two months, every day I've woken up and had my father’s favorite concoction of hot water, honey, turmeric and cinnamon. It's helped me with my pain, my health and my anxiety. Some people question the recipe, saying it’s just “old Indian spices.” The same people that read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and the same people that do yoga every morning question a recipe my family brought with themselves when we immigrated to this country. The same people who didn’t believe Trump could be president and are holding up signs on how this country could be so evil to immigrants and refugees. Those are the kids who called me names when I brought food from home. They are the girls who made fun of my hair for being too black, bushy and monotone. The boys who told me they could never like me because I smelled like curry. Now, they are the same peers who love Indian food and wear saris to events. The folks who believe Bollywood movies are so awesome and creative. The men who now want brown women to teach them how to cook Indian food.
Where were you back then? When my parents would work till 10 p.m., and I would only see them for a few hours every day. Where are you now? For the immigrant and refugee families that leave those airports and are supported by no one. Families that feel scared and hopeless. Children that feel abused in your classrooms, groups and neighborhoods. Where are you?
Two weeks ago, I watched as several people protested outside of PHL Airport Terminal A. The signs were inspiring and uplifting. Wow, people actual care now…or do they? I’ve been through my fair share of being quiet, being safe and being palatable. It’s easy. It doesn’t take much. But two weeks ago, as I sat on the floor of PHL airport, taking part in a majority black and brown body sit–in, and saw a group of cops surround me as they closed the doors—I remembered my first years in this country as a brown immigrant. They were hard. They were tiring. They were lonely.
They were desperate.
And that is why I ask every single one of you—
My sorority sisters, group project teams, my richer–than–most friends, my privileged Penn people, the folks I barely talk to, the folks I barely listen to, the white folks, the BROWN FOLKS who give two shits, my uncles and aunts who think this will never ever affect them, my professors and teachers who try to educate future American generations, my temple–goers, my holier–than–thou spiritual leaders, the people that love to educate others because they think they know more, and the people that don’t care because this is not affecting them now—
a question I asked myself not too long ago.
What are you doing to aid these brown and black bodies that have been struggling far longer than this president’s obscene orders?
So do more than holding up signs, do more than marches.
Educate yourself, read about white supremacy, organize a sit–in, a teach–in, don’t let your family members be proud that they voted for Trump. Call your Republicans out, call your Democrats out, call someone. Post and share stories. Use your privilege, and at the end of the day, maybe instead of getting a Copa margarita, donate some money to local organizations that have been on the streets fighting this fight since day one.
This is the time to get really mad and fight.
And to my fellow brown and black folks who have been fighting far more than I have, I hope you take some time for self–care. I hope you know that you did not create this mess. I thank you for your work, your resilience and your strength. Let me pour you a cup of some hot water, honey, turmeric and cinnamon. I promise it will help.