I know it shouldn’t be just one day that we praise the women that surround us, but this day does give an opportunity to appreciate the female figures in your life, their strength, their resilience and beauty inside and out. On this day, I would like to share a bit about myself as the founder of Music On Pointe. Philanthropy is something that I highly value and we live in a time where we are surrounded by war, greed, and anger. But I learned by spreading love, embracing the world, love shall also be received.
I just finished my traineeship at the EU Commission as a Blue Book trainee. While being stationed at the Research Executive Agency, I also joined organizations around the EU institutions, such as EU can Aid and the newly formed Diversity initiative. Topics of inclusion, diversity and international development are close to my heart. And that’s why I would like to share the following piece of writing with you from almost 2 years ago:
As a woman of color growing up in East Germany, trust me I know what racism feels like. My parents were constantly asked where their stand to sell is located at by white Germans (My parents are doctors) My dad was victim of brutal violence several times while walking on a street, whenever my mother would go outside with me in a baby carriage, white Germans would put cigarette ashes on me. To this day, we are being followed by security in stores and we are always being observed and called out by white Germans when walking on a street or just doing grocery shopping. We don’t hold any power due to systemic racism. My mother has to hear racial comments all day long at her own practice while trying to help the patient making comments…Trust me I know what racism feels like. While in middle and high school, I was looked at strangely because I carried dark hair on my body, plus my natural hair is not what German ads define as beauty. (meaning blonde and perfectly straight) I was bullied all along those years until I switched to an international school after 10th grade. Trust me I know what racism feels like. These same people still follow me on socials, watch every story, probably reading this. Yes I am speaking out. I remember, They didn’t want me to participate in a group language competition even though my grades were one of the best because I wasn’t “cool”. when they had to let me in, they had me play the man’s voice (I couldn’t be any girlier), the smallest role, because I wasn’t considered a beautiful girl with my black hair. After being scouted by an acting agency in Berlin , the first thing I was told was I will never get a lead because Im brown, I would always be a supporting character to the German lead. At that time I didn’t understand why my mom pulled me out of there. And whenever I visited my mother’s country, India, I wasn’t accepted there either because my dad is from Pakistan plus I’m brown like the rest and only white is beautiful in their eyes. (India was a British colony) I felt ugly all along and I couldnâ€™t leave Germany any faster. I got to the US, a country that is marketed as a country with infinite possibilities. Getting there I learned different cultures. I met people who shared my taste of music. I was embraced, mostly by my friends of color. They taught me that being unique is beautiful. They taught me that my story was valid. They taught me how to take care of my uniqueness in many different ways, while my white German friends complained how scared they are to walk home at night because of “these refugees” and how hard it is as a blonde girl…Years passed and I felt embraced. When it came to finding a dance job, I faced the issue of race again. White companies, black companies, “token black dancer”, “token white dancer” – those were the words I kept hearing. I fit nowhere. I was basically told that to my face. Again. A country that I felt embraced in and understood by its diversity turned its back on me. So when we talk about diversity in dance companies and Hollywood, I want to challenge you back…Define diversity. I was hurt, but I was trying to hide it. And what about your own people you ask? As mentioned before, the Indian community is not a strong community, we don’t want to look at our own face in the mirror and this is where it becomes dangerous. India is also facing systematic racism. There is no hashtag, there is no voice because the government controls you. They don’t have the privilege to bring such things to the public. Im seeing people of my heritage murdered by police because of different beliefs. This is not right. Nowhere. Saying that systematic racism is only a problem in America is wrong. The word world is a big word and I know the problem of American news and consumerism are selfishly targeted. But how can you ask others not to be blind if you are blind yourself? How can you pressure a dance company on saying something immediately on the American situation if that company has lived through decades of war and is still on the other side of the world? (things I have observed these past weeks) Please don’t be ignorant. Don’t turn your back again. Because I am not. I am hurting not only because of what is going on with my heritage but because many of my friends (of color) are hurting. I know what systematic racism feels like and won’t be silent about it. For no one. I know how it feels to have the cops called on when you are innocently sitting in your own garden playing your own music (yes that happened to me in Germany too). No racial group should be marginalized. No innocent person should be killed because of the color of their skin or their belief. Of course, racism is something a brown person feels every day so there are more examples. I, with my constellation of background have already accepted that I will never belong. So yes, some may say this post is about me and it is but it is there to tell a story. To understand why when we want to fight systematic racism, we have to look outside of our four walls. We have to recognize the privilege of internet connection, freedom of speech and most importantly community that some countries don’t have. So please, let’s turn our back on racism all together and fight for justice together while keeping our eyes wide open to protect and take care of each other. While the US is claiming to be a world power, it has lost its leadership position but seeing the black community come together to make their voices be heard is inspiring to me. (Trust me I wish I had that) But I do as I will keep standing with my friends to find justice and peace.
I hope you enjoyed…Another topic I would like to speak about is about vaccines that I wrote not too long ago actually:
Over a year ago, I received my first Pfizer shot to protect me from getting and spreading SARS-CoV-2.
After being in Europe and being surrounded by like-minded people I was confident in humanity, that we like to care for each other, are becoming less of a free-rider and finally maybe internalizing consequences from our actions.
Being in the US, that has changed. There is a lot of mis-information spreading about the vaccines and masks. Many say “I don’t want to put this into my body, I am healthy.” or “People who get the vaccine get sick too.” or “Covid will be around forever so we should move on.” etc.
And that is not everyone that I came across and this problem does also exist in Europe. But I got these comments from a closer circle.
So a couple of comments. We are putting things into our bodies on a daily basis that we don’t know about, especially in the US! This is a tested vaccine to REDUCE the spread and now imagine if we all got it! Maybe things would be more normal. Now, for someone in Miami it might be hard to understand, because the pandemic is something unspoken that hardly exists in minds BUT REALITY IS hospital beds are overfilled (mostly with unvaccinated patients if we speak about data and research), doctors are working non-stop, people are dying; so no, we cannot just move on. Further, great that we are young and maybe healthy but not everyone is. Therefore not wearing a mask in closed and tight spaces and not getting the vaccine, is called free-riding on those that do take these precautions. And that is not fair.
My argument for waiting for the booster (I have it now since December) was that people in the developing world don’t even have the first dosis yet and here we are getting the third one because Western countries hoarded these vaccines without sharing them with the more vulnerable countries, which is why variants arise.
Now BUT, we also have to understand we already live a privileged life, where we work, meet people, go outside, go to restaurants etc. So instead of re-inforcing more mutations, it is better, to simply get the vaccine that will otherwise be thrown away anyway if not used (sadly). However, this is the best way to not only protect ourselves but also the ones who are not privileged enough to have access to a vaccine.
I always say, I thought we would have learned from 2020 that if one part of the world is weak we are all screwed, so we have to help each other, look out and protect. But unfortunately it doesn’t seem like we have learned. The privileged (us) get more privilege by living selfishly and the poor get poorer by not having access.
And this is why, ladies and gentlemen, we are where we are. Here. With restrictions getting tighter and loosening like a sinus curve, travel restrictions etc. I am not even surprised.
I hope this makes you think about our collective action processes and remind you that only as a community we can act and live in peace and love.
Happy International Women’s Day ’22.