last wednesday cities across tennessee held walks in support of immigrants and refugees, and i was lucky enough to be able to attend the walk in downtown memphis. we began at clayborn temple, an important location during the civil rights movement, and ended at the civil rights museum. when we reached the crm, attendees watched in silence as members of memphis’ muslim community gathered for their evening prayers, after which we heard from a leader of the islamic center as well as from other citizens who spoke out against the recent travel ban.
as an indian-american and the proud daughter of immigrants, being a part of this walk was very special for me. i distinctly remember the feeling of terror i had as a child when my family and i would land in the states and my father, brother, and i walked to the us citizen line while my mother went to the line for foreigners; it was so bad one year that i nearly screamed down the entire immigration area of jfk until i saw my mother again on the other side. that is a feeling i would not wish on anyone else, and the day she became a citizen remains one of the happiest days of my childhood.
i am very aware that i am the “right” kind of brown, but i could very easily not be. unless changes are made, issues like the travel ban could have ripple effects that touch even more people around the world, and i believe that as citizens and humans it is our duty to stand up and make our voices heard.
how are you making your voice heard?