Temple University student Huda Khan was shocked this week to be asked, “What can I do?” for the one-thousandth time.
The record-breaking thousandth question came early Thursday morning from Nate Palmer, whom Khan describes as “a guy she phone-banked with once.”
After the national wave of hate crimes during post-election weekend, Khan claims these asks are “commonplace” and “happening approximately once every 20 minutes.”
“It’s great that people want to fight for justice,” Khan begins. “But I wish I wasn’t their only resource.”
Reports also show 26 emails, 74 texts, and even one post-it note left on her dorm door.
“At a certain point, I get tired of speaking for the entire Muslim-American community,” Khan says. “And am just like, ‘Maybe Google it?’”
Khan claims that these asks aren’t just limited to peers.
“Even my teachers are asking me what they can do,” Khan states. “Like, what? You really don’t know what you can do? You’re a professor of law.”
Khan says the asks began to escalate when Stephen Bannon was appointed Trump’s Chief Strategist this week, at which point she began to receive hourly texts from frantic, confused white friends.
“My friend Anne – number 812 – called me sobbing, asking how she could help,’” Khan states. “So I sent her a link to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She said she’d check it out if she had time later.”
After the first dozen inquiries came in, she said she found the messages “thoughtful.” But once they fell into the triple-digits, Khan reports they became “uncontrollable in volume” and states that they put “pressure on women of color to have all the answers.”
“I sometimes can’t tell if they actually want to do something, or if they want to look like they want to do something,” Khan reports. “Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s just the look part.”
“I’m only 19 years old,” she reports. “But even my therapist asked me what she could do.”
Khan also asserts that she had a tough time just dealing with her own feelings, post-election.
“I’ve been crying a lot lately, for the state of this country, my family, and my religion,” she states. “But sometimes I have to comfort my roommate Emma, who cries even more than me, and her parents voted for Trump.”
“It’s a lot,” she states.
When asked how she handles the barrage of questions, Khan reports that she “tries to be helpful,” but that ultimately, “it is not her full-time job.”
“While my identity is a huge part of who I am, it is not all that I am,” she begins. “Sometimes I wanna talk about movies or TV or food.”
At a recent press conference, Khan asserted that she is still continuing to fight for equality and the rights of marginalized people in the United States, no matter how flooded her inbox is by emails with the subject line “Hey! I don’t know if you remember me, but…”
“I want everyone to be interested in the social justice cause,” Khan states. “I just need some people to share the burden of seeking out information and distributing it.”
When asked what people could do to help her with this, Khan heaved a deep sigh and left the room.