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Thara Uddin used to water his own garden — and then his neighbors', too. That's just the sort of thoughtful person he was.

On Aug. 13, 2016, moments after saying prayers and leaving his place of worship, Uddin was shot and killed alongside Imam Maulama Akonjee, the leader of the mosque he attended.

Their deaths have rattled the Muslim community in Queens, New York — and beyond.


Folks mourn the loss of two Muslim community members in Queens. Photo by Kena Betancura/AFP/Getty Images.

Although the investigation is ongoing and a motive has yet to be established, many believe it was a hate crime they believe Uddin and Akonjee were murdered because they were Muslim.

It's not an irrational thought, either, seeing as Islamophobia is anything but a dying form of bigotry in America. Last year, there were triple the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes compared to the year before, NBC News reported in December 2015.

In response to the murders, #IllWalkWithYou started cropping up across the internet.

The viral hashtag — created and shared by allies who are committed to standing in solidarity with their Muslim friends and neighbors — has been a shining ray of hope in the wake of a very dark situation.

The simple phrase packs a whole lot of love into four little words.

For interfaith couples, the hashtag might mean something a little bit more.

Some used the hashtag to point out that sometimes justice fails, and that's not OK.

While others noted that the hashtag was really humanity at its finest.

Many people, however, used the hashtag in a literal sense — to let their loved ones and Muslim neighbors know that they're only a phone call (or tweet) away.

From Washington, D.C. ...

...to Minnesota...

...and all the way to Tennessee.

The hashtag popped up from coast to coast, letting Muslims know there are plenty of people who'd walk with them around town, to provide safety in numbers wherever they need to go.

Even a few friends across the pond — who've witnessed their own recent wave of Islamophobic violence — got wind of the message and threw their support behind it.

In the wake of senseless violence, the hashtag made hearts a little bit fuller and the world seem a little less threatening to Muslims everywhere.

The hashtag also spurred conversations about what needs to happen in order for a viral hashtag to make lasting change.

Like calling out the fact that, in order to curb anti-Muslim violence, we need elected officials who will actually do something about it — not help perpetuate the bigotry.

After all, you don't have to be Muslim to understand what it's like to live at a greater risk of discrimination and violence in the U.S.

Women, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, people of color — the list goes on and on when it comes to the groups and communities who know what it's like to be targeted and what it's like when someone has your back.

When we all commit to having each other's backs, it makes the whole world a safer — and more beautiful — place to call home.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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Joy

The gift that keeps on giving

The Giving Keys inspire wearers to dream, create and pay it forward

The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that's a bit unconventional, only because they believe that all of their gifts are meant to be regifted. It's a pay it forward, give on to others type of mentality and it in turn gives their pieces that little bit of extra meaning. Each of their keys comes with a story attached, once you decide exactly what that is...

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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