Monday, October 15, 2012

Hijab Run for Peace: A first and a third

Back when I was in high school, I was president of a club called the Religious Youth in Action. Yes, trust me, I was. But since our high school was in Cotabato City, I thought we needed to show diversity, all of us were Catholics and it felt absurd. So my friend Amer set up a sister club called the Muslim Students Association and I am proud to say that the two organizations made waves together. More than we could have done alone.

During our term there was a fire and war victims that needed our help. We organized donation drives and were able to fill up elf trucks. We even went to an orphanage and donated food and clothing as well. It was a good year.

Yesterday, I was lucky to be a part of something bigger but of the same tone as what Amer and I started back in high school. Yesterday we made history with the First Hijab Run for Peace. It was a solidarity run where females of all faith are invited to join. All of us wore our hijabs or scarves.

What is a hijab? It is simply a piece of cloth that covers the hair and neck of a woman. It is a sign of modesty, privacy and morality. It is not a sign of oppression. Mama Mary wore one and so do nuns. Why? Read this.

So then, it is a piece of clothing that symbolizes something. Other than that, it's basically a fashion statement too. And if we can allow hideous crimes of fashion, surely wearing a fashionable veil shouldn't offend anyone. I know this is putting it simply, but really, sometimes, it is that simple.

hijab run starting line
Starting Line: The Edsa People Power Monument, a symbol of freedom and peace.

hijab run race bib
My race bib.

hijab run shirt print
The Hijab Run Long Sleeve Shirt Print

We were asked to wear a hijab, whatever faith we had, pink was preferred but I had mine in red.
hijab run big turnout
A big turnout!

Raj Dilangalen leading the pack. Males were allowed to run. In the end it became a family and friends event where everyone went in and ran beside each other.

The AFP was in support of the Hijab Run. Male and female members of the AFP ran with us.

A run for the whole family!

The guests of honor.

And yes, this is probably the ONLY time I will ever get to be a podium finisher but there you have it, 3rd place. I am glad I made my podium run in a historic event. I may not be remembered but I am sure that the event will and that is good enough for me.

So there, my running friends. The Hijab Run for Peace was a first of its kind. And I ended up as the third placer. Goes to show that sometimes, we get more than we expect from joining a run for a cause. We think that we are giving too much of our time and effort to it when in fact it gives back more to us in return.

We may not believe in the same things but the key to life is maintaining a balance, coexistence, learning to run alongside each other without needing to criticize each other's running outfit or gait or breathing.

We must understand the things that are unknown or new to us before we label it as wrong or bad or oppressive. We can run in the dark if we bring a lamp to shine through it.

Tarahumaras' to the finish line!

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