by Gabrielle Smullen
Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.
In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Gabrielle Smulle writes about what it's like to live in Philadelphia, surrounded by a cultured Western-society, and wearing the Hijab.
When asked what it’s like to be a “Hijabi” in Philadelphia, despite much controversy, Hikma and Myrna described it be pretty normal. Being a hijabi in Philly is fun but also interesting. You see a lot of people that wear it and living in Philadelphia adds to the experience. Wearing hijab or being a hijabi is all in what you make it. You can still be apart of the community and look nice even though you stand out. Standing out is a major part of wearing hijab but in order to be comfortable with wearing it you have to be comfortable with yourself. You have to have faith in yourself and the religion. Standing out and being different is not a bad thing while wearing hijab, the more comfortable you get the more you enjoy it because of how much of a protection it is.
Having Hijabi friends makes things a lot easier. You don’t feel alone and you have a support system. You share the same experiences and you go through the same things together so it’s never something that you are dealing with by yourself. Personally, I feel more comfortable because I wasn’t born into the religion. At first it was an adjustment but a good one that I was proud of and even happier that I had friends prior to becoming Muslim. They helped me along the way and are still here. Philadelphia has a very divided Muslim community, but at the end of the day we are all one. We see too many flaws in each other and not enough love.