Whether you like it or not, our children are listening and watching us -- which is why it's so important for us to think about the messages they hear and see. No matter how you voted this election, everyone needs to read this Muslim fourth grader's letter to Donald Trump, so we can really think about what we're teaching the next generation through our words and actions.
Aamina Ahmed shared her 9-year-old daughter Sakeena Ahmed's heartfelt letter on Facebook that will hopefully lead to thought and soul-searching in everyone -- including our next POTUS, Donald Trump.
Bothered by the Islamophic rhetoric that often clouded Trump's campaign, Aamina encouraged Sakeena to voice her concerns and frustrations in a letter.
And my, did Sakeena do just that.
"My only wish for you [is] to be good. And I hope this letter does make you good ..."
Sakeena's letter is a harrowing reminder that prejudice and polarizing remarks impact children. As the little girl wrote:
You said you want to make America great again. Can you show me?! Don't we all have the same plan? We all just want to live in peace ... and not war!
.... You are saying we [Muslims] are mean and cruel, but we are not! We are nice and giving! You are saying we are terrorists. We definitely don't do anything that you say we do. My dad is a doctor. That is proof we are good! We are not bad. We want peace just like you!
Refugees aren't Skittles, and not every Muslim is a terrorist. (The FBI has said 94 percent of US terrorist attacks are by non-Muslims.) Sadly, many foreigners and followers of Islams have been belittled to talking points during Trump's bid for the Oval Office -- he even went so far as to recommend Muslims tell on each other for the sake of national security.
Reading Sakeena's letter to now president-elect Donald Trump really makes me feel ashamed. I'm ashamed of this country's actions, our thoughts about each other, and how that loathing for minority groups in the US bleeds into what we teach our children.
This is the time, now more than ever, to make changes to both our actions and words. Children like Sakeena need to know they aren't terrorists or threats -- they need to know they're loved and appreciated and accepted.
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I truly hope we can get to a place where this doesn't happen, and I'm confident we can. Change starts at home, so let's all make sure the America we're painting for our sons and daughters is one where we're all equal and included.
Who knows if this 9-year-old will get a response from Donald Trump (my guess is no). Sakeena's words are definitely a wake-up call for parents to do better for the future generations.
Image via Aamina Ali-Ahmed/Facebook