Americans should learn what 'jihad' really means. Uproar over a recent speech shows why.

'Jihad' means 'struggle.'

"Jihad" is a loaded word, especially when you rip it from the context in which it's being used.

After a video of Muslim activist and Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour went viral, headlines began popping up around the internet claiming she had called for a "jihad" against the Trump administration, with some going so far as to try to link her to violent acts of terrorism.

Yes, she said "jihad" in her recent speech to the Islamic Society of North America. No, it doesn't mean what many of these outlets are trying to suggest — especially in the context she said it.


Sarsour called for nonviolent resistance to harmful people and policies within the Trump administration.

The nearly 23-minute speech touches on organizing, activism, building bridges within the community, standing up to oppressors, and a host of other topics that are well worth a watch if you've got the time. The key moment that seems to have been left out of many of the more sensational reports came when she actually defines "the best form of jihad" as "a word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader."

All GIFs from s khalil/YouTube.

"There is a man who once asked our beloved Prophet Muhammad ... he said to him, 'What is the best form of jihad or struggle?'

And our beloved Prophet Muhammad ... said to him, 'A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad.' I hope, that when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers, not only abroad in the Middle East or the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House."

Author Qasim Rashid came to Sarsour's defense, sharing an important series of tweets further defining what jihad actually is.

It's long but worth a read, starting here. He also shared a link to a resource about the efforts of terrorists to co-opt and pervert the term to mean something it's not.

Wherever your beliefs fall on the political spectrum, it's worth standing up for Sarsour on this. Because anything else is, as President Trump would say, "fake news."

It's a tough time to be Muslim in the U.S., and Sarsour is trying her hardest to strengthen the community's resolve to stand up for their rights as Americans to practice their religion freely and without fear.

"It's my duty to instill courage in Muslim communities, to motivate them to join the non-violent resistance against this administration and to always be unapologetically Muslim, because we have every right to be," Sarsour writes in a Twitter message. "The morale of Muslims is low, my mission is to lead by example with conviction."

Watch Sarsour's entire speech below. Regardless of your religion or political perspective, there's certainly a lesson we can all take from it.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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