Dear Ms. Mary,
I want to reintroduce myself. My name is Melih Onvural, and we met almost 25 years ago in a small town called Cary, NC. I even remember how you introduced yourself – “My name is Mary. My husband’s name is Terry. And we live in Cary”. I was 9. And I don’t think you hated me then. Why do you hate me now?
If you remember, we were neighbors for 10 years. I grew up playing Monopoly and doing math homework at your kitchen table. The one time I remember my parents taking some time off for themselves, I stayed at your house. You might remember my parents. Muslim immigrants from Turkey who came to America and built their own American Dream.
You see, I feel the need to re-introduce myself because over the last year or so, you’ve filled my Facebook feed with alt-right political rhetoric as if you’ve never known an immigrant; or a Muslim; or someone who scraped, crawled, and fought their way from the bottom to the top of the hill known as America.
But you have – me.
And – very consistently – over the last year you’ve posted your political rhetoric, and I’ve stayed silent. I figured that your candidate couldn’t win, and that I shouldn’t soil our relationship with political bickering. I was wrong about the former. And you didn’t give me the courtesy of the latter, and so I have to remind you of a few things tonight.
(1) Your candidate said that he wants me and my parents to not be a part of the American fabric. Either he actually means it, which makes him and you bigots, or he said it only to rally up the crowd which makes him a liar.
If it’s the former, then your years of speaking down at me for not being Christian are a farce. Christ isn’t a bigot. And as a follower of Christ you must love all of His children, and leave judgement to our Creator on the Day of Judgement. These are the words He spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. These are things you taught me. In your kitchen. In the life we shared together. As neighbors.
If it’s the latter, then you’ve been conned. And you’ve allowed a con man to become your false prophet – once again betraying the very values you claim to live by.
(2) Your candidate has encouraged white supremacists to come out of the shadows in which they were hiding, and refused to repudiate them.
By supporting this man, you’ve made the world less safe for my children. Here’s a picture of my mixed-race children. They’re 5, 4, and 1.5 years old. They have a British mom, and a Turkish dad. Their last name is one that no one can pronounce. Instead of looking into my feed, and wondering about the world looks like for these kids when hate is allowed out of the shadows, you openly invited hate, and pushed us into the shadows.
How can I possibly bring them to North Carolina now knowing that the KKK has been empowered to stand back up? How can I send them to their grandmother’s house for the summer not knowing if they’ll be safe or not? You have grandchildren. Why would you create a world that is less safe for them than the one in which your own children grew up?
(3) Your candidate has firmly laid down a layer of concrete over the glass ceiling of equal opportunity that every woman in my family has fought for.
Why should these women have opportunities closed to them? Why as a grandmother and a mother of an incredible young girl should they think that her opportunities will be less than those of the boys in their lives? Your candidate – and the masses who voted him in – make them believe that. Should your granddaughter have fewer opportunities just because she doesn’t have a penis?
I think somewhere along the line you forgot that the names and labels that you were raging against were people. People with lives, destinies, hopes, and dreams. My family. Your neighbors.
Your vote – and the votes of millions of other Americans – told these people – my people – that we don’t matter.
As much as I thought the best solution was to turn you off, I’ve realized that that’s wrong. I’m not going to unfriend you. I’m going to fill your news feed with the pictures, stories, accomplishments, and journeys of these people.
Because we’re not a faceless mass. We’re not Skittles in a fucking bowl. We are America – the best parts of it. And we want you to be part of our story too.