December 8, 8 p.m. Hamilton Hall, Columbia University.
It had been a bad week, the news full of 2 reported assaults on headscarf-wearing Muslim women in New York. But on Thursday evening, the mood in the brightly lit Columbia classroom was hopeful. Around twenty people gathered for an animated discussion led by Melanie Elturk, the CEO of online retailer Haute Hijab, which offers stylish modest clothing for Muslim women. Touching on everything from entrepreneurship to smartphone addiction, the group talked through navigating Trump’s America as a modern Muslim. Let’s not let hate divide or disempower us, was the refrain. Let’s not complain. Let’s get involved and change things for the better.
“Join local clubs and boards,” Elturk urged. “So when Muslims come up at home, Bill can say ‘Oh, I know Yussef from the Rotary Club.'”
Text by Arwa Mahdawi; Photography by Dina Litovsky for the Village Voice