In fall 2013, WriteBoston launched Teen Voices Rising, an afterschool mentoring and journalism program designed to engage young women in the powerful work of expressing their voices on social justice issues.
Teen Voices Rising, by training girls to speak out about the issues that matter most to them, is a tribute to the 25-year legacy of Teen Voices and a pledge to the next generation of women.
Teen Voices Rising commentators
These three articles were written by teens in the Teens in Print program of WriteBoston.
Credit: AFH photo by Kim Huynh
For a week-and-a-half, I did something I've never done before. I wore my hijab to school and kept it on everywhere I went.
I know that I was supposed to start wearing the head scarf a very long time ago as a sign of modesty and my devotion to Islam. However, I hadn't felt ready to commit.
Then, one morning a few months ago, I woke up and just decided that I was going to put it on.
Two days before, a Muslim teacher at my Arabic school had talked about the afterlife and how if you didn't follow the rules of Islam you would be punished in hellfire. I was scared. My initial thoughts were that I was going to wear it for the rest of my life. I was a little skeptical about it, though. So I figured that I would wear it for a week and see how it went. I got dressed the way I usually did for school -- jeans and a long-sleeved shirt -- but this time I added a little spice to my wardrobe: a hijab. I went to the mirror to see how I looked. Fear struck as I thought about what people at school would say. However, I just sucked it up and said "Bismillah" -- in the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most beneficent -- and then walked out the door.
As I got to school and pulled my jacket hood off, I felt as if I was the center of everyone's conversation. I actually heard someone blurt out: "What the heck is on Adama's head?" As the day progressed, it seemed like there was a big sign on my forehead saying: "PLEASE STARE AT ME."
While my first day wearing the hijab was unsettling, after that it was a horror film. The questions coming at me ranged from: "Do you wear it when you sleep?" to "Do you take a shower with it on?" to "Are you sad that they killed your father?" -- a reference to Osama bin Laden. One friend went so far as to call me a terrorist.
I was terrified.
So, I eventually decided to take it off. I felt bad, realizing that I wasn't ready to go all in.
Now, I can only imagine what I'd have heard if I'd been wearing my hijab after April's Boston Marathon bombings, which were allegedly perpetrated by Islamic extremists. In the aftermath, I heard people say cruel and hurtful things about Muslims, like: "Muslims don't like other people being happy because Muslim countries are not as good as America."
Hopefully, by the time I go to college, I will be more prepared to wear the hijab full time. I will be more mature, more at peace with myself, and less concerned about being ridiculed for wanting to display my faith.
This article was originally published at writeboston.org.
About Boston Teens in Print: bostontip.com.
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