"Part of our religion is to perfect your character, and basically be a light to other people's eyes. And honestly, that's what I prayed for every night for years—just to be able to soften people's hearts."
The woman sharing these personal feelings has dark features and hair under a clean white hijab. She also wears fairly heavy make-up, because she is about to appear on TV. Her name is Tahera Rahman, and she is the first woman to wear a hijab while reporting full-time for a mainstream American TV station, according to the Muslim American Women in Media group.
In her role, Tahera is happy to have the chance to "soften people's hearts," by appearing in their living rooms night after night reporting the news. Though it isn't the main reason that she pursued a career in journalism and TV, the opportunity to change minds and alter perceptions of Muslim Americans is important to Tahera. Because she has lived through the challenges of being seen as "other" and not as who she is: an American.
"The first thing people say is, like, take that rag off your head, and go back to where you came from," she shares. "And I want to be like, well I was born and raised here. And I wear it. So I am where I belong. And you have to deal with it.
"This is my America, too."