He's 11. He's Mexican and Muslim. And he has some choice words for Donald Trump.

A 10-year-old boy sits cross-legged against a wall, wearing a large, colorful sombrero.

Slowly, he removes it, revealing a white, knit taqiyah underneath. As one head covering gives way to another, he speaks directly to Donald Trump:

"I am Mexican. I am Muslim. I am not a terrorist."


Andrew Morales started posting videos to Facebook when he was 7 years old, as a way to keep in touch with his friends back in Mexico.

Andrew, dressed up on his school's "Wacky Wednesday." ¿Where is Andrew/Facebook?, used with permission.

Now 11, with several years of on-camera experience under his belt, Morales is increasingly using his growing page as a platform to stand up for himself and his family against Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican rhetoric, which he takes personally.

Andrew Morales. ¿Where is Andrew?/Facebook, used with permission.

"After [Trump] said he was going to build a wall from here to Mexico, that just made me, honestly, really angry," Andrew told Upworthy.

He explained that he was motivated to respond on behalf of his mom, who was born in Mexico, as well on behalf of the millions of Mexicans living and working in the U.S. — including at Trump's own companies.

Morales also believes that Trump, "doesn’t know anything about Islam."

"We’re not terrorists. All we want is love and peace for everyone," he said.

Morales credits his friends from school for introducing him to politics and helping him find his voice online.


Andrew (center), with friends, waiting at IHOP. ¿Where is Andrew/Facebook?, used with permission.

Most mornings before class, Morales gathers with classmates at his Houston-area Islamic school for "Trump Time," where they discuss everything from Trump's latest statements to their passion for Bernie Sanders to where the race currently stands.

"They actually really motivate me a lot," Morales said. "Without them, I would just be sad ‘cause everybody needs a friend, right?"

Andrew's mother Nahela Morales said that while she guided her son early on, he has started taking on more responsibility for the videos in the past year.

"Now that we’re doing them live, he says whatever he wants," Nahela told Upworthy.

She continues to monitor and help manage his page — deleting angry comments so that Andrew doesn't see them. She described the current political environment as "scary."

"I know a lot of colleagues and a lot of people that have been attacked or abused because of the rhetoric," Nahela said.

The Morales family recently moved from New Jersey to Texas, which has been an adjustment for Andrew.


Andrew poses in front of the Statue of Liberty. ¿Where is Andrew/Facebook?, used with permission.

"It’s really hot. Like, it’s too hot over here," Andrew said. While he likes his new school and has made friends, he still misses things about his old home.

"I liked when I could build a snowman," he said

Nahela explained that the long, hot days in Houston make their Ramadan fast challenging, but manageable.

"As long as you stay inside in the A/C, everything’s OK," she said.

Andrew told Upworthy that he would love a chance to talk to Trump one-on-one, though he's not sure Trump would listen.

"He’s very rude and arrogant, but I would try my best," Andrew said. "I would try and talk to him."

More than anything, he wishes the candidate knew that "Islam is peace and love."

For now, he plans to continue to use his videos to send Trump a message:

"Educate yourself," Andrew said.

¿Where is Andrew/Facebook?, used with permission.

"You can’t talk smack about something if you don’t know anything about that topic."

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

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