Video courtesy of SoulPancake’s Facebook page
If there’s anything to learn from the interaction in the video above, it’s that your greatest chance of finding a cache of resilience is amongst a group of determined girls, chockfull of courage and conviction in their beliefs.
We commence with the introduction of 11 year-old Kheris Rogers, a young phenom thrust into the spotlight as she fought back against blatant colorism with the introduction of a clothing line, unapologetically titled, “Flexin’ in my Complexion”.
Hearing of the harassment faced by a troupe of Muslim Girl Scouts, Kheris ventured out to the Islamic Institute of Orange Country, where the aforementioned group of Girl Scouts discussed their experiences. They recounted being confronted by hecklers who showed up with holster belts, aggressive stances, and profane language, resulting in a blatant and overwhelming aura of unpleasantness. Can you imagine showing up to a gathering of Girl Scouts with a holster? Can you imagine using profane language to harass someone young enough to be a Girl Scout? Can you imagine someone who is actually able to justify this odious behavior?
“If I tell this person, will they not like me anymore? Will they not talk to me anymore? Will they, like, not want to be around me anymore?”
One Girl Scout reflected that she always experiences a “slight second of hesitation” before being forthright about her religion, owing to the possibility that the individual she is speaking to may identify with the stance of her harassers. “If I tell this person, will they not like me anymore? Will they not talk to me anymore? Will they, like, not want to be around me anymore?” she considers out loud. How tragic that a young girl should have to think like this!
It is UNACCEPTABLE to make children feel like they cannot be their authentic selves.
It is UNACCEPTABLE to threaten children based on their faith.
It is UNACCEPTABLE for one’s fear of the unfamiliar to result in abusive behavior.
What this collision of communities depicts is that this heinous standard of behavior will NOT be permitted to persist, or fester. Our differences do make us stronger. Our diversity does add flavor to life. These things bring unity, love, and understanding, should we allow them to. Stop with the assumptions. Reach out to someone you don’t understand with an open mind, and an open heart. They may surprise you!
When diverse communities come together to understand one another better, we all win. We leave with allies, and a strong network of support, beyond what we could have imagined.
As reiterated by one of the adults associated with the group of Muslim Girl Scouts, the harassers “…don’t know what they’re saying. Obviously you [the Muslim Girl Scouts] know your religion better” so “let’s reach out; let’s teach them what true Islam is”. And truly, this sentiment sums up everything we need to know when it comes to understanding each other’s differences. Let those within the community educate those who may not fully comprehend. When diverse communities come together to understand one another better, we all win. We leave with allies, and a strong network of support, beyond what we could have imagined.
“I think it’s so important that we celebrate our differences. That’s what makes our country so unique”, states a member of Kheris’ party.
“And it’s not only celebrating differences, but it’s also finding commonalities,” continues a member of the Islamic Institute of Orange County, to a chorus of nods in agreement. “You know, we’re more the same than we are different, and let’s celebrate that. Let’s celebrate commonalities, but also appreciate and learn from our differences.”
Gaze upon the amalgamation of two unique communities into one strong network of support, and know this always: even with our differences, we have more in common than not, and there is nothing stronger than a group of girls, secure in their sense of self, setting out to build bridges.
And just like that, two diverse groups come together in a bond of understanding. Watch the video above, and see the collision of firm resilience and community take place. Gaze upon the amalgamation of two unique communities into one strong network of support, and know this always: even with our differences, we have more in common than not, and there is nothing stronger than a group of girls, secure in their sense of self, setting out to build bridges.