Hijabi Monologues is a spinoff of Vagina Monologues or Mental Health
Monologues, and consisted of hijabi women from various backgrounds and identities speaking about their experience in wearing the hijab, as well as the reason why they decided to wear the hijab.
Following the escalation of hate crimes towards hijabi, or Muslim-veiled, after the 2016 presidential elections, my roommate and I decided to create “Halfway Hijabi: Hijabi
Monologues”. Given the common misconceptions about the hijab being forced on us, as well as the association of Islam with terrorism/backwardness, this event was/is meant to be a space for hijabi women to freely share their narratives, as oppose to have others speak on, about, or for us. As a free event open to the general public, it is/was also meant to be a space where all people, regardless of background or views, could come and learn more about the hijab. We also served desserts afterwards in the room next door in order to facilitate post-performance discussion between the audience and the performers.
The event, held on February 16, 2018, was extremely successful, with the room reaching its capacity limit and over 1,800 people indicating interest on our Facebook page. We were invited to speak at Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion events afterwards, as well as were featured in the 2017 commencement video. More importantly, it created a space where people of all different backgrounds and ways of life could come together and just enjoy each other’s presence in a comfortable/open-minded space. The speakers told us that this was one of the few times they felt wanted on this campus and we received much feedback through our Facebook group in which other’s asked if this event would continue to be held. This all couldn’t have been possible without the help from BLI and the financial aid given to us through BLI. Many grants don’t cover refreshments, which we felt was essential to facilitate post-performance discussion, or events that occur outside of a particular organization.
The flexibility given through BLI really helped assist in establishing this event. Through the constructive feedback and debriefs held, it has been decided that this event will be held again, and we are extremely excited to hear the feedback for this event/continue to progress it to be as inclusive of an event it can be.
By: Alyiah Al-Bonijim and Ayah Kutmah