I feel like I am pretty good at letting things roll of my back but this chaos in the US right now is getting the best of me – I have constant knots in my stomach from so much negativity and hate.
I wrote this just after the election and I thought I would share because it has been at the forefront of my mind…
“I have not been able to hold back my tears. I feel like everything has been sucked out of me. I feel sad, upset, angry, confused, disappointed, embarrassed. To know that this is what the majority of Americans want and I am an American feels in a sense that I have lost my identity.
Despite the tears, I opened my suitcase (I’m on my way to Arkansas for the IMBA World Summit) and pulled out my special handmade Keffieyeh from Jordan – immediately I felt a sense of pride and purpose come about me. Yes, I am American and it is my job in this life to connect people – to spread love, acceptance, tolerance and opportunity. I have never felt more passionately about this than I do right now. I’ve been given a platform and an opportunity with my bike, and in the broad scheme of things it may not be large, but it is indeed a platform. It is here that I can work to change the status quo. I’ve seen firsthand how bikes break down the barriers and enable people to take on a childlike vulnerability as they move outside their comfort zones – this is where change starts. This change can come in many forms but this is a window of opportunity and I am passionate about facilitating change.
I don’t see the skin color, the clothes, the book, the language – I see you.
I want a country/world where I can be a Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Athiest etc etc and I can practice openly without fear. Where I can love whoever I want to love and have the rights to live as an equal – in both eyes and policy. Where I can live as citizen or immigrant with equal respect, opportunity and rights. A place where the color of a persons skin, the way they dress or their customs are viewed with a smile as opposed to fear. A place where as a woman I have the same rights as a man and that man cannot touch me without my consent. A place where I have control over my own reproductive health. A place where we treat each other with respect.
No matter what your race, religion, sexual identity/preference, culture, nationality, way of dress – I love you and I will stand up for you. We are beautiful because of our differences and every ounce of me believes that.
Humanizing each and every person my country demonizes is the way to combat this plague. When they go low, you go high.
You will not define what it is to be American Mr. Trump, I will.
Fight fear with love.”