On Facebook and Twitter, Veterans and military service members are using their accounts to reassure Muslim Americans that they will fight for their rights as citizens. The hashtag #iwillprotectyou was created after one mother’s post went viral when her young daughter became afraid after hearing Donald Trump’s ‘ban Muslims’ proposal.
ABC News reports:
Melissa Chance Yassini posted about her daughter’s reaction to hearing proposals by Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the country.
“She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the army came to remove us from our homes,” Yassini wrote on Facebook about her daughter Sofia. “She checked the locks on the door 3-4 times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”
The post went viral and was shared more than 20,000 times.
“I was up all night, it bothered me,” Kerri Peeek, an Army Veteran, told ABC News. “I’m a mom, for mother to mother … I know you want to protect your children from everything.”
The fact that Sofia was worried about soldiers coming to take her away upset Peek.
“What’s a way [for her] to know that soldiers are not going to come to her door,” Peek said. She ended up sending her a picture of herself in her Army uniform with the message, “Here’s a picture of me as a mom and soldier and I’ll come to protect you.”
But Peek didn’t stop there, she asked her friends to continue to send Sofia messages of support. She started a hashtag, #iwillprotectyou, last Wednesday and implored other military service members and veterans on social media to pledge to protect Muslim children like Sofia from being discriminated against.
“Post a picture of you in uniform with the hashtag ‘#WillProtectYou’ to let these children know that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America,” she wrote on Facebook.
Watch a breakdown of what happened.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 22, 2015
The hashtag took off.
Peek has received hundreds of messages from people who have the same fears about discrimination or who pledged to support others’ freedom of religion.
— Elizabeth April (@Cinders09051984) December 19, 2015
— Tom Flowers (@TomFlowers) December 21, 2015
Sofia, #Iwillprotectyou, too, with voice, pen, name, sweat, and blood. I meant my oath when commissioned. I mean it now. USAR ’90-’01.
— Graham R. Scott (@graythebruce) December 19, 2015
— Michael W. May (@Joffi) December 19, 2015
Montel Williams tweeted.
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) December 21, 2015
— Cities Burn (@WhenCitiesBurn) December 21, 2015
— Josh (@That_Bama_Guy11) December 21, 2015
— Anthony Raffety (@AnthonyRaffety) December 21, 2015
— R D III (@CPTBobby) December 21, 2015
— HOTAKI (@valorofamarine) December 21, 2015
Peek has heard from Yassini about her daughter’s reaction to the hashtag going viral.
“She said she’s been reading the posts to her daughter and her daughter feels so much better knowing that she’s a part of America,” Peek said.
With so much division in our country after heated rhetoric coming from Donald Trump, it’s no surprise that children are frightened.
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