A girl wearing a hijab. Some women choose to wear a hijab in order to retain modesty. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS CC BY-SA 4.0

I have been wearing the hijab for about 10 years now and it has been a significant part of my life. When I first started out I was very conscious of it, especially because it was not my choice. My mom asked me to wear it and I said sure. But very few girls in my school community wore the hijab, so I could easily feel it on my head the first two years.

After that, it became a part of me to the point where I could not imagine a life without it. I have been fortunate enough to not encounter any hate crimes related to my hijab; but recent increases in hate crimes towards hijabis, after the 2016 elections, has made me more aware of it. Regardless, I wear it proudly as it is a representation of my religion and way of life.

The religion requires it for the sake of keeping modesty, however, girls should choose to wear it themselves — and it shouldn’t be forced upon them. Hijab comes from the root word “haya” which means modest in Arabic.