Social Services Manager of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati
When I first arrived in the US two decades ago, I carried a similar notion that the US was the land of opportunity for all and envisioned a journey encapsulating hard work and success. While I started off in Chicago, I decided to move to Cincinnati two years later to be close to family. Cincinnati is where I met my husband, got married and started a family. It is also the place where a lot of friends over time became family, and I pursued higher education by getting my 2nd master’s in business administration. My career saw a promising start, working for one of the biggest banks in the world. Everyone I met was friendly, courteous, and helpful besides being sincerely interested in learning about me. In other words, I felt welcome and at home.
To me that is how every immigrant story should go. Immigration is a core part of the American society and an expression of the nation's values. We are a nation of immigrants and must strive to always be. We collectively benefit as Americans when we support immigration.
In my current job as a non-profit manager, I am privileged to work for an organization whose sole purpose is to serve the community by uplifting the lives of all Americans and neighbors. As a Muslim American I truly believe that our strength as a
nation lies in our diversity and that equal opportunity and inclusion must be the cornerstone of our collective efforts towards equity and justice for all. Immigrants possess a sense of duty and obligation to give back to the new communities they
call home, but unfortunately the pervasive fear-based rhetoric over immigration has polarized our nation and led many to believe that immigration is the sole cause of the economic ails of our society.
In the Cincinnati metro area, the “New American Economy” reports that while only 4.6% of the population were immigrants, they held $2.6 billion in purchasing power in 2017. In addition, immigrants are 23% more likely to be entrepreneurs than US born residents. This shows us how important immigrants are to the US and local economy as both consumers and taxpayers making them significant economic contributors and job creators.
“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
- Bertrand Russell
We must educate ourselves, so we truly understand the positive impact of immigration on the success of our country. We must invest in and build a robust immigration system for the 21st century that enables the influx of talented, creative and hardworking people who share American values and are committed to uplifting the socioeconomic status of all Americans. We can all do our part by supporting smart and humane immigration policies and getting to know our immigrant neighbors, business owners and co-workers as a 1st step towards diversity and growth.