Today's politics and pop culture from a young liberal's perspective.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
When Rima Fakih ريما فقيه was announced 2010 Miss USA she became the first Arab American and Muslim to win the contest. Rima was born in Lebanon but in 1993 her family moved to New York before finally settling down in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn, Michigan is known as the Arab capital of the United States. This is very evident as the buildings, signs, and shops are labeled mostly in Arabic. Exactly 20 years ago, Miss USA 1990, Carole Gist became the first African American title-holder. Carole Gist (my friend's mommy) was also Miss Michigan before going on to win the national contest. They both represent the diversity and culture that not only thrives within Southeast Michigan but within the entire state. Together they have broken racial and religious barriers to represent our entire country. I truely love calling Michigan my home. I was also delighted when our school (not very close to Dearborn) became the first MI school offering Arabic as a language for students to take.
Today was the first time Rima returned to her hometown since the pageant; and I was so grateful to be a part of the event. She is an amazing person and a perfect role model for all young girls. The day began with several associations such as her alma mater's presenting her with awards, along with Arab and Chaldean foundations. Dearborn Mayor, John B. O’Reilly presented Rima with a key to the city as well as declaring July 10th, Rima Fakih Day. When the presenters had gone, Rima was alone to speak from her heart to her family, friends, and fans of her beloved hometown city. She stressed that education was the gateway to success and her secret weapon to winning the pageant. "Anyone who is rich can lose money. You can never lose a degree." Rima hopes to go on to lawschool after her rein is complete. "Love the haters," she exclaimed. "They made me push even harder to prove them wrong. The people that tried to get me disqualified only made me want to win even more." Rima also gave her dad credit for always instilling in her that "anything is possible"; and from what we have all seen, she has lived up to this quote. A Lebanese immigrant, Rima is the epitome of the "American Dream". "I want girls to look at me and say, she comes where I come from. We all have backgrounds. No one is only American." It is beautiful to see when an American can proudly represent all cultures or ethnicities he/she comes from. She is exactly right. Our stories are all unique and we all have another heritage in which we can be proud of. I am so glad Rima is representing the United States because she portrays the diversity each individual in our country beholds. Let me add she has a great fashion sense along with a personality out of this world.