A wave of discrimination has emerged with the coronavirus crisis showing how differently the world views people who look Asian.
First for some context and world history - my husband, Shams Mehri, is a Hazara Afghani. The Hazaras are said to be descendants of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol empire, and the Mongol soldiers who swept through the region in the 13th century. Their Asiatic features and language – a dialect of Persian – set them apart from other Afghans, including the predominant ethnic Pashtun.
In May 2019, we brought a beautiful baby girl into the world, Shayrooz. Her name in Farsi says it all: Bright face and Lavish day and she sure is! Little did I know that less than a year later my family and I would be facing Sinophobia, the new Islamophobia.
After 9/11, when the planes hit the Twin Towers, Americans of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian backgrounds were assaulted, killed, and blamed for the attacks. Who knew that 19 years later I would need to fight harder than I ever did to protect my innocent Muslim Asiatic daughter and husband from anti-Asian violence? This has since escalated because of the man in the White House who should be leading, but instead, emphasizes on the origin of the coronavirus and detracts from scientific facts and truths.
It is more important than ever before to vote and vote that man out of the White House. Trump’s rhetoric has triggered a shift to more violence, racism, and hate. As long as we have a stake in the future, it’s important for my voice, your voice, OUR VOICE to be heard. As American citizens, we have the right to vote and the privilege to choose who we want to lead us as the most powerful country in the world.
My family didn’t leave their home country of Zanzibar and Tanzania to face hate, my husband didn’t flee Afghanistan to face Sinophobia, and we sure as heck didn’t bring a daughter into this world for her to fight violence and racism. Voting may not be a perfect system and sometimes the choice of candidates can leave us feeling perplexed, but this time the answer is obvious. I know if we grant him another four years in the White House, America, the land of opportunities, the land where dreams can be fulfilled, will only be known as the land of hate and anti-scientific human value.
So, I’m saying to you today as a Mother, as a Doctor, as a Wife, and as a Daughter of an Immigrant businessman - please vote him out! Do it for Shayrooz, do it for her future, for your future, and the future of our great America. It is now our responsibility to stand up and speak for those without a voice, without a platform. Be the voice all our ancestors intended for us to fight for. Humanity, integrity, love for one another, equality, and justice for all.
Do it for her!
Dr. Sharmin Dharas is a doctor, small business owner, and women's rights advocate.