'When we see reflections of ourselves in the world around us, it really reminds us that we're human, we're part of the story, too." Today we're lifting up the voices of Muslim women around the world. 🙌 #MuslimWomensDay@xoamani@muslimgirlhttps://t.co/EsqTwsMDI0pic.twitter.com/QTaB1sTyRs— MAKERS (@MAKERSwomen) March 27, 2018
Last year Amani Al-Khatahtbeh says she started Muslim Women's Day "because it was about damn time!"
The founder of MuslimGirl.com launched the day as a call to action for media and organizations to include and celebrate more Muslim women in stories. "We find that a lot of times, Muslim women's voices are the ones being drowned out of that narrative," says Al-Khatahtbeh, who has grown MuslimGirl.com from being a blog she started in her bedroom to a media force that's pushing to increase the visibility and acceptance of Muslim women. "This is our chance to talk back."
Well, Amani, we are listening...
How would Muslim Women's Day affected you as a young girl?
AA: If you had told me when I was a little girl that we would have the incredible partners that we have today elevating our voices, I don't think I would have believed you. For me, I grew up post-9/11. I was nine years old when that day happened, so I grew up never seeing a reflection of myself in the world around me. Not in the media, not on television, not in movies. And that really does something to a kid. When we see reflections of ourselves in the world around us, it really reminds us that we're human, we're part of the story too, we're part of society, and hey we actually exist. We're here. And most of all, I think this really has a huge impact on the self-esteem of Muslim girls and Muslim women. This makes them feel like they're being heard.
What do you hope to change for the next generation of young Muslim women?
Honestly, what I hope we're changing for the next generation is making the need for a Muslim Women's Day obsolete. It would really be awesome if we could achieve a level of representation in society where we don't need individual days to make sure that marginalized voices are being heard and included in the conversation.
Tell us about this year's theme and what you hope comes from it?
The theme for this year's Muslim Women's Day is "Muslim Women Talk Back to Violence." We chose that because we felt it was very timely with the topics that are unfolding around us, from gun violence to sexual assault and harassment, and really to themes that a lot of women can connect with around the world. This is an opportunity for us to really tap into that dialogue.
What's your call to action?
I think that the MAKERS audience is filled with ChangeMAKERS. I'm really counting on my sisters out there to tap into the discussion today. It's so easy for anyone to get involved with Muslim Women's Day and use it as an opportunity to be a great ally, simply by centering our voices online. Something as simple as hitting retweet or share on the content created by our partners centering around Muslim women's stories, that's how we give space to marginalized voices. Tap into the hashtag as well. Post a selfie with a Muslim woman that you know, or a Muslim woman that you appreciate. Let them know that you love them and that you care. It's days like this that really make a difference.