Updated: Feb 17
Written by Muna Javaid, Women's March on Texas Capitol committee member
As I look back on the last decade, I think about my work with Girls Rock Camp Houston, hosting and performing in Houston’s first Yoni Ki Baat (South Asian Vagina Monologues) and working in various ways to make the Houston music scene a safer place, I realize that the resounding theme in my work has always been empowering women.
I never had to look far as to why this was so important to me. Growing up, I watched as my immigrant mama, my Ami Ji, created spaces and opportunities for not only her daughters to thrive and succeed, but so many others around her.
I watched her.
Learn how to read, write and speak English.
I watched her learn how to drive, always with her shoes off because it “made her feel like she had more control”.
I watched her wash and iron everything we wore, because presentation was important.
I watched the care and attention she put into hosting people in our home, cooking the most incredible meals.
I watched her speak to her friends on the phone, talking them through their struggles, difficult times and uncomfortable experiences.
I watched her out and about, the microaggressions, the heavy stares, the assumptions, but never letting us see that it stopped her from what she needed to do.
I watched her stumble through spelling bee words to help us study (and win).
I watched her seek out tutors to help fill the gaps in the homework she wasn’t able to help us with.
I watched her budget and coupon, always making us feel like we had what we needed.
She always, always found a way.
As I grew older, I saw a different kind of strength. One that regularly reminded my sister and I to work hard to become professional working women and emphasizing the power that comes with financial independence.
I saw her, having to see her friends through their battles with cancer, losing them one by one.
I saw her become mother to so many of their children, to try and fill that space for them as much as she could.
I saw her lead an Islamic Weekend School for over a decade, because that’s what she did best. Lead.
Her integrity, humility, fairness and strength are just some of the things I hope to carry with me as I continue my work.
Ami Ji, you are Why I March.