This month of March is notable in more than one way. As the world gradually resurfaces from a year of pandemic, and our country settles into a new presidential administration, March is also the month we honor and celebrate women’s contributions to history.
Often overlooked, so many women have contributed immensely to our society, culture, education, justice system, and more. Because credit should be given where credit is due, I chose to use my voice to honor, celebrate and reflect on these historical heroes.
First Female Vice-President
How could we celebrate this month without acknowledging the women who herself made history this year?
When Kamala was sworn-in this past January to become our Vice President, she was not only the first female to ever hold that position, she was the first African American, and the first South Asian American to hold that title in the history of the country.
That was powerful in more ways than one. Little girls had a hero to look up to. Women felt empowered and heard. First-generation Americans such as myself were validated, and told “yes”, you do have a voice, and “yes” public office is one way you can use it.
It brought us all together, and my only hope is that this paves the way for generations to come.
Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate
Malala is an activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Being that we are Pakistani, I have to admit that I not only salute her activism, but she also holds a special place in my heart.
She represents the courageous, daring, and empathetic Muslim woman that I aspire to be. Through her hardships and challenges, she refused to comply under pressure. She thrived and used her voice and her story to challenge her oppressors. She brought awareness to what Pakistani women endure and how they’ve been denied an education for so many years.
She certainly is one of the first female heroes that comes into mind when thinking of Women’s History Month.
First Muslim Woman Elected to Congress
Born in Detroit, Rashida made history in 2008 by becoming the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Michigan Legislature. Well-known as a progressive warrior, her mission in life is to knock down barriers for real change, whether by policy or action.
I met her two years ago at a CAIR-Chicago fundraiser, and it was such an incredible experience for me. She likes to refer to herself as “a mother working for justice for all.”. When I found myself wondering whether or not I should pursue a political career, I remember reflecting on her journey and how she came to the realization that the only way for change is through public office.
It may not be the same journey that you want to pursue, however, celebrating and honoring female history makers such as Rashida is something we should all take part in. I am also incredibly honored to share the space with her in PBS’ And She Could be Next Documentary.
Youngest Woman Elected to Congress
Listing the women I want to honor and celebrate this month can never be complete without AOC. This history-making congresswoman has been known throughout her political career to always address her biggest critics, and face whatever challenges thrown her way.
Since her swearing-in to Congress in 2019, AOC has remained committed to serving working-class people over corporate interests and advocating for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. She is also unapologetically, fierce, driven, and committed to bringing real change.
She sets a powerful example for our youth and we should all celebrate her on this Women’s History Month.
My Biggest Inspiration
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by incredible female role models and drew inspiration from them. However, my list of courageous and inspiring women in our history cannot be complete if I don’t include my mother in it.
Granted you have probably never met her, but let me tell you a bit more about an incredible woman named Saima Amiwala.
Born in Karachi Pakistan, my mother left her home country for the United States at the age of 19. With a heart full of hopes and dreams, she wanted to explore the world, help as many people as she possibly could, and provide her children with opportunities they may not have had in Pakistan at the time. She didn’t have any political career aspirations, but her way of supporting the community was by volunteering.
She raised me and my siblings and taught us that what matters most in the world is to be kind to one another and uplift each other. Thanks to her, faith and prayer have been a huge pillar in my life and have granted me the solace I need during uncertain times.
She is the most selfless woman I know, and that to me is worthy of history and is to be honored and celebrated.
Courtesy: Bushra Amiwala