Australians Reveal Themselves To Be A Class Act, Even In The Face Of Tragedy. #illridewithyou
It's not every day that Twitter gives me faith in humanity. Today is that day.
Sometimes, you feel like hiding who you are.
As the news of the Dec. 15, 2014, hostage situation in Sydney was breaking, along with the possibility that the suspect was a Muslim extremist, a woman saw another woman on the train remove her head scarf.
These women had nothing to do with the hostage situation, but anti-Muslim sentiment can be so strong that any time something like this happens, it can be dangerous to wear a hijab in public for fear of harassment.
This story was retweeted and suddenly became the fastest-growing hashtag on Twitter.
People started posting details about their commutes and inviting any Muslims who felt unsafe traveling in the area to get in touch.
There's safety in numbers.
People expressed solidarity for their Muslim neighbors, racking up a thousand tweets per minute with the #illridewithyou hashtag.
In the midst of a crisis, it gave people hope.
It also moved them from clicktivism to activism.
Sometimes, when a tragedy strikes, you don't know what to say. #illridewithyou gave Aussies a response. They could stand up for people who might be scared to go out on their own.
It made a difference to at least some Muslims in the community.
I hope Australians are proud of themselves for responding to terrible events in a productive and compassionate way.
It's not a new idea. I loved this post with an image from the 1940s, another era of religiously motivated division.
Make sure your neighbors know #illridewithyou.