altM voted! Did you?

We, here at altM, have been anticipating this day for months now. We’re just about ready to #DumpTrump from our Newsfeed already. Now that the day has arrived, we can hardly contain our excitement. Naturally, we had to share or experience voting from across America and around the world. Share yours below!

Kaitlin Montgomery

Living in the swing state of North Carolina it was important to me that I voted during our early voting period. I waited in line for two hours to exercise a vote that my great grandmother fought for years ago. I have always been a proud Democrat and was upset to see Bernie Sanders lose in the primary. However, it’s an emotional day for me to see a woman who, regardless of how people feel about her, has spent years working to secure the White House. When I was in first grade I wrote that one day I wanted to become president. The boys in my class laughed at me, ripped up my paper and told me girls couldn’t be president. 17 years later, with the glass ceiling about to shatter, all I have to say is this: who’s laughing now, boys?

U. Mariam Ahmed 

Our family is going through a tough year. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and I ended up moving home to Chicago from Dubai with my children to help care for her. It has been a jarring time to return to America, especially after living in a Muslim country. I wasn’t sure how I would feel on Election Day, and whether I could handle the anxiety. I woke up today, unexpectedly, with a sense of calm and peace. As a Muslim woman, a lawyer, and most of all a mom, I am convinced that today America will live up to its promise. My mom even managed to go and vote today, though she is very ill and undergoing chemo. It feels like this dark and terrible year is ending and hopefully on a very high note!

Hafsa S. Ahmad

I remember May 2013: I sat glued to our television, following the Pakistani election from Florida- waiting for Imran Khan with bated breath. I find myself (again) glued to the news, but this time watching the American election from Pakistan. And my breath has all but stopped. I’m wondering… Will Trump change the America I grew up in? Will Hillary (or Stein!) become the first female POTUS? Or will Bernie emerge victorious, as I’ve dreamt numerous times…?

Regardless. Whether you support Hillary or Trump (or Bernie/Stein), the prospect of a female president is exciting. Although we, in Pakistan, can tell you firsthand that having a female head of state changed next to nothing, it did make the previously unthinkable seem suddenly… achievable. And I see that change reflected in the bright-eyed girls I teach. They might think it’s impossible to understand Keynesian economics, but they know it’s possible to be anything they aspire to be- even Prime Minister of Pakistan. Let’s hope little girls in America can feel that soon, too.

Najiyah Khan

8 years ago I drove from my grad school class at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to an election party. I listened to NPR as the presidential race results came in for the east coast states. I arrived at the party in time to hear the good news. I sat with friends and family to watch Barack Obama give his acceptance speech. My then 5 year old son was sitting in my lap as we listened to President elect Obama’s historic words-an unforgettable memory. In this unprecedented election, my four kids (ranging from 6 to 13) heard all the vitriol and negativity-we’ve had many honest conversations these last few months. We’re planning to watch the election results together this evening. I look forward to sitting together as we (hopefully) witness the acceptance speech of the first female president of the United States of America.

Firdaus Arastu

When I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, I had promised myself that I would be deliberate in establishing my life here. Part of that commitment to deliberate-ness was being physically present in spaces, and so I both submitted my voter registration and cast my ballot in-person. California allows early voting, but I wanted to feel physically present amongst my neighbors, participating in a civic duty and hard-won right. Admittedly, I also wanted that “I Voted!” sticker to proudly wear as a badge of honor.

While we have been inundated with media coverage about the national election, there’s something about living 3,000 miles away from the nation’s capital, where I was living a few short months ago, that makes you think more about the local initiatives and candidates. I walked to my polling place on this cool, sunlight morning and lined up behind my fellow neighbors, who were busy studying the booklets with information about the local candidates and initiatives. Here in the Bay Area, the ballot was a monster 8 pages with 17 state-wide measures. Like me, many had come prepared with their sample ballot marked up. I felt like I was taking an open-book final exam, and hoped (and worried!) that the others had all studied adequately. Democracy runs on faith, the confidence that we will all live with the decision of the majority, so there’s an odd mixture of trepidation mixed with optimism as the masses finally set pen to paper to decide our future.

Sofia Ali-Khan

Sofia Ali-Khan

Finished my poll watching shift and then voted. I’ve always been far to the left of center and am a proud Bernicrat. I was sad when he lost the primary. I honestly was not expecting it to mean so much to me to vote for a woman for president. But it does. It means so much. #imwithher #voteblue #hope#shareyourvote #muslimvoter #notapostpatriarchyyet

Zehra Rizavi

I saw my mother’s Virginia number on my caller ID this afternoon, and paused my lunch to pick up the phone. As I expected, she immediately inquired, “Have you voted yet? Why not? Go! Go now!” I promised her I would drive  to the nearby fire house that, for today, had been transformed into a voting station. I reassured her that the lines would not be so long as to keep me from casting my ballot, and my husband would wrap up his evening meetings in time to accompany me so we could vote together.  I could tell by the urgency that still tinged her voice that I had only partially assuaged her anxiety. “Don’t worry Mamma. I’ll call you right after I leave the voting booth.”

My mother is a 55-year-old Muslim woman who emigrated from Pakistan in 1990 with her husband and seven-year-old daughter in tow and settled in a modest  northern Virginia suburb. She has lived and worked in the U.S. as a substitute teacher, a tax accountant and housewife for 26 years, but only recently did she begin the cumbersome process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Although she is not yet able to cast her vote for our next president, she daily reads the “Washington Post” cover to cover, loves to watch liberal political analysts Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and jumps headfirst into the lively debates her Pakistani friends have on America’s domestic and foreign policies. Needless to say, my mother would love to stand in line and press the button that will light up the box marked “Hillary Clinton” for president.

“So what did you do today Mamma?” I asked, pleased with myself for having pivoted the subject away from my procrastination to her schedule. I waited for her to rattle off the usual list—laundry, grocery shopping, charity work with friends. Instead she proudly told me that while at the dentist’s office, she had pressed other patients about whether or not they had voted. I should mention here that my mother is a reserved, non-confrontational woman who appreciates discretion. She is also someone who, because of the ever rising hate crimes against Muslims in America, believes in remaining vigilant and keeping a low profile. “Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself Zehra,” she will caution me again and again. “There are too many angry, unstable people out there.” And here is this polite, judicious woman leaning over to ask strangers in a doctor’s waiting room who are mindlessly flipping through outdated magazines if they have exercised their civic duty. “I told them, Zehra that they must vote. I told them I cannot, but they can and they must!.” That is how much this Pakistani-American Muslim immigrant cares about this country.

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