From the Editor's Desk – Black History Month, Compassion Fatigue & Owning Our Emotions
Feb 7, 2023
Dilshad Ali
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Image source: Pexels; photo by Şeyda Nur Yüce
As salaamu alaikum and hello everyone!
As my kids call it, we’re in the dark days of winter now, when it feels like a slog, and there are not a lot of breaks (in school terminology) between winter and spring break. My daughter was telling me how historically she gets down during this time of year for a variety of reasons, whereas I was trying to advise her to not let past events dictate how we feel during a particular time of year.
But truth be told, it takes time to move past things that have been difficult for us. And when events are attached to seasons of the year – like “remembrances” of a hard thing or tragic event – only time, ownership of ourselves and new experiences can help those feelings of blahness, sadness or dread fade away to something more manageable.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that – what it means to take ownership of ourselves and our feelings, to give ourselves the time to process and feel what we feel while doing the work to help ourselves move forward and, Insha’Allah, accept and appreciate the blessings of Allah (S) all around us.
At our weekly HH team meeting, our CEO Melanie told us about how she was asked by Islamic Relief USA to travel with them to Turkey and raise awareness and donations for the victims and survivors of the terrible earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and surrounding regions. She told us about how she was a mixed bag of feelings about being asked to go, that she didn’t want to be some sort of person who just dropped into a devastated region just to do it, that she was scared to face what thousands are facing on the ground, and that she was grateful Allah (S) was calling her to this.
These are all feelings to be owned, because it shows that the affairs of our fellow Muslims, our fellow humans, matter to us. It shows that we want to tread deliberately, carefully, kindly, intentionally, sensitively and impactfully in the lives we live, the work we do and how we interact with each other. Compassion and trauma fatigue is a very real thing that happens to us all, and it requires time, effort and hard work from all of us to work through it and remain compassionate.
Image source: Pexels; photo by Monstera
In talking with Layla, one of our writers at The Haute Take, about February articles for the blog, she told me about her mix of feelings around Black History Month, especially as a public-facing writer who writes articles and stories around it. She shared how you want to use the talents you have and the platforms you have access to to elevate the stories and histories of Black (Muslim) Americans, but that it can also feel wearisome at times because of ongoing trauma.
Acknowledging that, owning that, saying that out loud (whether publicly or privately to oneself or among friends) is a measure of comfort itself. At least that’s how I see it. So in the spirit of owning the experiences and feelings of ourselves and the communities we serve, our team at The Haute Take has a number of stories and things planned to help process, honor and raise awareness about all the things happening around us.
We have curated a list of places where you can donate to help the earthquake victims and survivors in Turkey and Syria (and will be bringing you more from the region through Melanie’s work with IRUSA). We also will be honoring Black History Month with a series of articles highlighting the work of Black Muslim women, the Black Muslim experience (through food) and talking about natural hair care.
Towards the end of the month we’ll be restocking some of our Recycled Chiffon hijab colors. Each Recycled Chiffon hijab is made from 7-8 water bottles, which otherwise would’ve made it into the oceans. These hijabs have a slightly different feel then our regular Chiffon hijabs, and that can be such a good thing, which we’ll be talking about on the blog.
We continue to send du’as to all the earthquake victims and survivors and to everyone around the world facing hardships, oppression and difficulties. We are getting close to the start of Ramadan next month. May the experiences we are having and enduring bring us closer to Allah (S). As always, take care, keep us in your du’as and start everything with Bismillah.
Editorially yours,
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