Orland Park Prayer Center

The Prayer Center of Orland Park

Six words. One question. A huge answer.
Who am I? Well, that’s a great question because you see, I, myself, am searching for the answer. Who am I becoming? That’s an even better question as I wish I knew.  Who was I? I was a lost girl in a world full of hatred and mistreatment of everyone surrounding me. Who do I want to be? I want to be someone I am confidently proud of. I want to be someone with a purpose.You see we get this one life. One life to make ourselves the best versions of us we can possibly be. I don’t want to be a historical figure. I don’t want to be someone everyone forgets either. I want to shed light to certain situations and stop the mistreatment of minorities in America. Shame on every single person who is a bystander while someone is being publicly harassed and humiliated. Shame on the adults staring, shame on the teenagers recording, shame on the whispers of the crowd, and shame on words you were thinking… but didn’t have the courage to say.You see we live in a society where we constantly try and defend the reputation of our nation by stating that the mistreatment of minorities is “unAmerican” yet when we see the mistreatment happening right in front of us, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT!? And speaking of minorities, the very foundation of this nation was not of any descent other than the natives… we are all trespassing on this land.  If you do not speak up for those being talked down upon for having a thicker accent, a darker skin tone, speaking their native language, or dressing a certain way, and more, you’re no better than the person instigating the problem.In order to wipe racism out of our nation we need to think back to what we initially represent, which is liberty and justice for all. How can we live in the so called “melting pot” if we can’t even defend our neighbors when they need support. Sure there’s two sides to every story, and there’s always a part of a recording we might miss… but does that justify the brutal embarrassment of someone just for being different? Being diverse doesn’t just apply to your race or religion, being diverse is the very difference between you and everyone around you. What’s different. What’s special. What stands out. We are all diverse. We are all one. Human beings. Diversity is the very thing that makes the world colorful. We are all out of the ordinary in our own ways. There is no race more superior than another, there is no primary language, there is no dominant region, we are one.

So, who am I? A human being. Someone who thinks, someone who breathes the same oxygen as you. Someone who wakes up every morning with the hopes of having a day without stares at my head, aches in my heart, and tears by the end. I’m a person who envisions a world full of peace. A person who believes women are powerful, men are capable, children CAN do anything, and YOU are special. That’s who I am… who are you?

By Yasmeen Sheikah


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