Wednesday, June 22, 2016

No one likes a bully

I decided to stop at Macy's today as I was heading back home. The Macy's I go to has a super big parking lot since its part of the mall, and for once, I saw an empty spot near the entrance between a cluster of cars. As I pulled into a spot I noticed the face of the lady on my left scrunch up. I thought nothing of it since the sun was out on full blast. I wait till she gets in her car and open my door. As soon as I step out I hear "why'd you have to park here, there are lots of other spots". UHM. 

Well lady, I'll give you a list of reasons. One, I'm fasting, so the least amount of walking I have to do in the sun between getting to my car and my place of destination is much preferable. Two, I can park wherever I wanna park in this lot. Three, I parked perfectly, you had no issue getting into your car, what exactly is your issue here. Four, I'm not in the mood for you. 

I guess subconsciously after seeing her scrunched up face my guard went up. Rather than be frozen in the moment, I was responsive in it. So I stopped and said "is there a problem?" To which she responds "no, no problem" as she stared dead ahead and didn't look at me. Well that's great, then why did you feel the need to say something to me?

I can probably tell you why. Because often times people are baffled by something someone says that they don't respond. This allows the person who said something think that they are right/allowed to say things that are mean/rude/unnecessary to people who've they've never met before. Another reason they feel it's okay to do this is because they've done it before in front of other people and no one spoke up. I know with the craziness in the world it's hard to stand up for someone because of fear for your own safety. This is completely understandable. But it's also important to remember that if we aren't part of the solution then we are part of the problem. Often times these people who spit venom from their lips need a reminder that they can't say what they want. And that reminder is as simple as saying, "hey, that's unacceptable". And hopefully when that happens, they will crawl back under the rock from which they came. 

I wasnt tooting my own horn when I said I parked perfectly between my lines.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hey Orlando! Here I come!

I am making the trip to Orlando for ALA Annual and I am SUPER excited! This will be the first Annual conference that I am able to attend and I truly look forward to it. I have attended mid-winter twice before, once in Philadelphia and once in Chicago. Both times left lasting memories that I look back on fondly.

I have to admit, I am a bit nervous. About one part of the conference in particular. The part where I have to speak, in front of people. I've always been a nervous public speaker but I am hoping that I can get through this without everyone hearing my voice shake and my eyes darting all over the place. I am grateful that a friend of mine will be attending the session with me. It'll be nice to see a familiar face in the crowd.

SO. Which session am I speaking at?

Committee on Professional Ethics Presents "No Room at the Library: The Ethics of Diversity"

The link of which can be found HERE.
The session will take place on Sunday, June 26th from 1-2:30 p.m.

The country will live in is becoming more and more diverse. Some places more than others. And it is important to be able to continue offering our services without discrimination. Something which can happen unintentionally, especially when we are unaware of the patrons wants/needs. And what better way to serve our patrons than to learn more about them.

Will you be attending Annual? Is this session on your to-visit list?

If so, come say hi! We dont bite :)

*Time from writing this post.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hijab: Scarf or Dress

Although the word Hijab is more commonly (about 95% of the time) referred to the wearers head-wear, it can also mean the persons outfit. This would depend on what context the word was used in.

The covering of a female is stated in the Qu'ran, however, each female interprets it differently depending on how she was raised/her culture.

There are females who choose not to wear a hijab at all.

There are females who wear loose long clothing, but do not wear the hijab.

There are females who wear tight clothing, and wear the hijab.

There are females who wear loose long clothing and the hijab.

There are females who wear solid black and cover their hands and faces.

It all comes down to the female, her culture, her family upbringing and her personal preference.

Are there countries where women have to wear full covering as is chosen by their country? Absolutely.

Are there countries where women are forced to remove their hijab and become secular in their dress as is chosen by their country? Absolutely.

Are there countries where women are allowed to wear their hijab as they please but have to deal with other peoples distaste towards their dress? Absolutely.

Do people have a right to tell other people what they should wear? Absolutely not.

I have had many patrons ask me about the way I dress. Commenting on certain patterns or styles they see me in, and patterns and styles they see others in. Usually asking what the difference is between my type of dress and anothers. Preference. Sense of taste and style. Upbringing. That is the difference.

I love when they compliment my hijab, or my skirt, or another item that I am wearing. Because it lets me know that the person in front of me is accepting me for who I am. No matter what the media is throwing at them.

Compliments make us feel like we belong. And they make two people feel good. The person giving the compliment and the person receiving it. Is that not what we all want at the end of the day? To feel like we belong? To be happy? To make it through the day?

SO what if we are a little bit different than the next person. It adds more spice to the world!

Have you worn something, or changed your appearance in anyway and received compliments?
How did those compliments make you feel?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

No room for mass shootings

I started to write a status about the white gunman in Florida who targeted the LGBTQa parade. I was confused about why he wasn't labeled. And then I stopped. I had already shared a status about how the first gunman didn't represent Islam. I mean, the guy doesn't pray and he doesn't fast. Does that mean he isn't Muslim? Well, no. Okay, that means that he represents Islam. Well, again, no. Okay, so now we're confused. You have to defend your religion, which is followed by 2 billion people, to condemn the action of a few. Well, no, I don't. Want to know why? Because as we've heard time and time again. The action of the few does NOT define the whole.

Here we go again. 

Let's step back a moment and think about why we are so quick to associate an entire religion because one guy, who doesn't even practice, based on what his parents said, did something atrocious. Want to know what our religion teaches? Ask your Muslim neighbor, coworker, friend. They'll happily tell you. Take a look at their actions. REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL THE SAME. How? Simple. We are trying to make it to tomorrow by getting through today. Is there a rotten apple in the bunch? Yep. Are there other rotten apples out there? Yep. Should we give these rotten apples lots of fan for the horrible things they've done? Nope.

How about instead of sharing the names of these gunmen and their pictures, how about not giving them fame and letting others know that if they do the same, they too will get their 5 minutes. Maybe we should share the names of those whose lives have been taken. Maybe we should celebrate them by showing their faces instead of their body count. Maybe we should learn about their life stories instead of those who took it. 

What a horrible thing to take from someone. Their life. The lives of those left behind. The lives of those they could have helped. We don't know where good is hiding. How dare someone think that it's okay for them to take away that opportunity. 

My prayers are with all of those who have lost their lives because someone else's was filled with hate. My prayers are with those who have lost someone they love because someone else thought that a human life was theirs to take. 

May God have mercy on us all. Amen. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Muslim Holidays (1/2) Ramadan: Its not just about fasting

As Ramadan draws near, these are some remarks being made by Muslims around you (and the world).

Are you ready for Ramadan?

I can't wait for Ramadan to start!

I'm so excited for Ramadan!

How is it that I have no problem fasting for 30 days during Ramadan, BUT have a problem not eating every two hours any other time?!

What is Ramadan?

  • Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims around the world.
  • It is more than just refraining from food.
  • It falls on the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar.
  • It comes 10 days early every year.
  • It can last between 29-30 days depending on the sighting of the moon.
  • It is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.
  • It is a very spiritual month.
  • It is known as the month in which the Quran (the Holy Book) was revealed to Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).


These are questions that I have been asked. Please feel free to ask more!

How do you fast for 30 days? Don't you get hungry?

Technically, its not a straight fast. The fast is kept everyday from sun-up to sundown, for the 30 days of Ramadan. 

Can you drink water?

We are not allowed to drink water between sun-up and sundown.

So, basically you can't eat or drink?

Yes, but its so much more than that. We work on refraining from: smoking, cursing, bad behavior, sex, rudeness, backbiting, etc.

Don't you get hungry?!

The first couple of days CAN be hard. And a particularly hot day can be excruciating, if I haven't had enough water before sun-up/previous day. But overall, I look forward to it and seek the reward of doing it.

I don't know how you do it, I feel so bad for you!

Please do not feel bad for us. We believe the reward we get is much greater than feeling a little hungry/thirsty and/or tired. Also, we believe it brings us closer to God. 

That's not healthy...

False! Studies have shown that fasting is actually very good for your health. It gives your body time to heal and to get rid of toxins that have been sitting there. 

What if you don't feel good?

Simple. Do not fast. Ramadan is for those who are able. Children, elderly people, the sick, the traveling, pregnant/breast feeding and menstruating are not required to fast!

You must binge every night!

Some people do, some people don't. Everyone is different :)

So, why do you fast?

To feel what the poor feel. To teach ourselves patience. To be appreciative of what we have. To get closer to God. We all have our reasons (some are different, some are the same).

Here is a display* I created at my library last year to welcome the month of Ramadan.
I included information about this month, as well as, pictures from around the world.
The little paper lanterns you see on the display are something we call a Fanoos (Fa-neow-s). Plastic ones are generally made for children, while more elaborate beautiful ones, are made for decorations around the house. 
You can view elaborate ones on Google here since you cant really see the ones I put INSIDE the display.

Here is a display that I saw when I walked into the children's room. Our Children Librarian had created a display of books for the kids! I remember the feeling of happiness I felt upon seeing the display. I felt even more included than I normally do at my library.
We have a good chunk of our community that is Muslim. I would watch their face light up when they saw the books. The kids would become very excited and grab them for check out.

Finally, I will leave you with some vocabulary.

Ramadan Mubarak: This is what Muslims say to each other to welcome Ramadan, and if you are feeling adventurous, you can say it to your patrons.
Suhoor: The meal eaten before sun-up.
Iftar: The meal eaten after sunset.

If you have ANY questions, please feel free to ask me. I will do my best** to answer. Feedback and comments are always appreciated!

* The Eid greetings and Happy Ramadan banner were given to me by Project Eid Awareness. They sent me a kit at no cost, to help raise awareness at my library. It was very generous of them.
**I am not an expert. I am writing from my own point of view and what I know/experienced. What I cannot answer, I will find resources for you :)

(I did not forget the second part of my Hijab post. That will come soon!)

Thank you L Kristin Jonsson for suggesting I write this!