By Jasmine Dalrymple
What do I have to look like, wear, or do in order to be American? Is the question many children and young adults ask when faced with any harassment or bigotry. In the current times we live in, there is nonstop talk of politics all around America. We are bombarded with negativity left and right, whether it comes from people we know, political leaders, etc. But what if there was a way we can be kind to everyone regardless of religion, race, or political views and just speak words and acts of kindness. That’s what business owner, author, and lawyer, Aila Malik, portrays when discussing her current children’s book, “Mommy, Am I American?”
In the Summer of 2020, Aila Malik’s children's book, “Mommy, Am I American?” was released, which in sum is about a child's curiosity on their own identity and what it means to be an American. Aila Malik admitted the 2016 Presidential election inspired the book. As I sat down with Malik and dug into the roots of “Mommy, Am I American?” Malik had a heartfelt response on what drew her to even start writing the book. She stated, “I wrote the book through tears,” Malik admitted to writing the book through tears due to the fact of what was going on at the time. During this time, the Travel Ban was initiated, and given Malik’s Pakistanian heritage, this Travel Ban hit so close to home for her. During this time, Malik recalls saying, “How can I teach my children to be loved by America?” Given her children’s heritage and other immigrant children, Malik wanted an outlet to teach children how to be loved and be treated with kindness and to, most importantly, be loved by America, which is why she wrote, “Mommy, Am I American.”
Upon the release of the book, Mailk took upon herself to reach a further avenue of activism and teamed up with Culk to get her motto of Vote for Kindness out there. Which Malik admitted stemmed from a heart drawing her own daughter drew. Vote for Kindness is meant to spread activism in young children and adults during a crisis by turning up what Malik calls H.E.A.T., which is an acronym for—Humility Empathy Action and Togetherness. By building up the H.E.A.T. element in kids, children will grow up to be kind and demand a stand for inclusion.
The only way we can Vote for Kindness, is if we have active participants willing to do so. In other words, we as Americans have the right to vote, and we should use that right to bring kindness to the polls. When I asked Malik the importance of voting and why people choose not to vote, she stated, “People don’t want to vote because they don't believe that voting will make a difference.” Which is a common misconception many people say when they do not want to vote. But voting does make a difference and does get your voice out there. Malik followed with, “If you want your voice to matter, don’t limit yourself and express yourself through voting.”
Overall, Aila Mailk's activism, patriotism, and campaigns have led to a strong wave of making people feel included and loved by America. Malik makes young children and adults realize what it is we need to look like, wear, or do to be an American, and that's by being inclusive to people and voting for kindness and not hatred. Accepting individuals as they are is what makes America great. Malik leaves us with the importance of inclusion and remembering to Vote with Kindness!
*Vote for Kindness apparel are available for purchase at culk.co.
Jasmine Dalrymple is an editorial intern specializing in trend forecast writing in beauty, fashion and events.