HijabFest 2016 - A Celebration of Hijab and the Women Who Wear It

Posted on Jan 21, 2017
Melanie Elturk


Last September, I was fortunate to speak at the HijabFest event in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was an awesome event dedicated to connecting hijabis, empowering one another and celebrating hijab and the meaning behind it.

The theme this year was "Own Your Identity," and I was so delighted to join this rockstar panel which included Linda Sarsour (Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York), Rumana Ahmed (Senior Advisor at the White House to President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes), and moderator Sara of Posifitivy.

The event also featured my beloved teacher Anse Tamara Gray, the founder of Rabata. (These are the classes I'm always ranting and raving about ;) Rabata is dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through individual empowerment, spiritual upbringing of women by women, and the revival of the female voice in scholarship. Her talk was incredibly inspiring as per usual :)

During the event, I talked about the importance of remaining empowered as hijabis in today's volatile social and political climate. As we know from history, we're not the first and we're not going to be the last group of minorities who aren't 'wanted.' We cannot wallow in self-pity because of that. What is so important to me is that, whether I like it or not, I am a role model - and so are you. As visibly Muslim women, the situation we find ourselves in today means that it is more important than ever to let our light shine fully and authentically, not to let it be consumed by fear and cynicism.

LOVE this pic of me and Heba Jalloul (@heba_jay) - she's in the Fill in the Blanc Wrap and I'm wearing the Street Art Scarf! One of my favorite things is seeing members of the #HHSpottedClub at events -- here I am below with some of our beautiful customers. From left to right, we're wearing Winter Nights, Autumn Paisley, Street Art, Cyprus Seas, and Fill in the Blanc!

Such a great event with such an important message. Thank you again to HijabFest for having me and watch this New Jersey vlog with footage from HijabFest!

Be sure to follow me on Snapchat and Instagram @hautehijab to stay up-to-date on all things HH!