“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? /
The world would split open.
I read these profound words by the American poet, Muriel Rukeyser, last year, which was much too late in my life. But they had a profound impact on me. As a non-white, minority woman in America I have thought about this multiple times, every day. A time of Pink Tax, violence directed at the East-Asian community and specifically Asian women during the COVID-19 pandemic and the social media movement #herstory, planted seeds for the ‘Becoming American’ project.
Becoming American is by women but it is for all Americans. It documents stories of resilience and hope, of breaking barriers and achieving success. It also tells of loss, pain, and hardship. Additionally, it acknowledges the silence of women who had the opportunity to share their fears and apprehensions through this platform but decided to stay quiet. At times, the cost of raising voice might outweigh its benefits.
Each of the 10 women featured in ‘Becoming American’ had to overcome one singular barrier before they could take on more: They were all born outside of the United States of America. All storytellers are residents of the State of Maryland. Why so, you would ask? It is because of my belief in the power of local journalism in connecting neighbors with each other. My years of working with local communities in Western Pennsylvania has strengthened my belief in storytelling as a crucial tool for information as well as reconciliation.
Join me on the below mentioned social media pages, every Wednesday, Sept. 1- Nov. 10, as I introduce you to these powerful stories of what it takes to ‘make it’ as an immigrant woman in America? Each story is unique, just as the woman it belongs to is, in her country of origin and journey to America. We all can learn something from these stories. I feel humbled for the trust with which these stories were shared with me and pass on that trust to you; the readers. Please help share these stories, pass them on and help build a movement for more women to shatter ceilings.
Thank you for your help in documenting better stories.
Writer and Producer: Saima Adil Sitwat
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Funding for Becoming American has been provided by Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC)
Partners (listed in alphabetical order):
#herstory #welcomingAmerica #immigrantstories #betterstories #americanstories