Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric — his big talk about deporting Mexican people and closing the United States to Muslims — is a horror to many thinking adults, but those adults can take comfort in knowing that political and practical realities make it unlikely Trump’s extreme measures will ever come to pass. But to an 8-year-old Muslim girl named Sofia, the possibility that the yelling man in the straw wig would send the Army to take her and her family away seemed very real — and very terrifying.
After watching Trump’s now-infamous comments about Muslims on the news with her grandmother, Sofia knew what she had to do.
“She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the army came to remove us from our homes,” her mom, Melissa Chance Yassini, wrote in a Facebook post. “She checked the locks on the door 3-4 times. This is terrorism. No child in America deserves to feel that way.”
Members of the U.S. military, which is not yet under the authority of commander-in-chief the Donald, agreed with Sofia’s mom. They began reaching out to the little girl on social media, assuring her that the army isn’t coming to tear her from her home, and promising to protect her and her family.
According to Upworthy, Army vet and mother Kerri Peek was the first to reach out to Sofia and her mom.
“Salamalakum Melissa!” Peek wrote. “Please show this picture of me to your daughter. Tell her I am a Mama too and as a soldier I will protect her from the bad guys.”
Then she reached out to her fellow service members, her “Battle Buddies,” and asked them to help reassure Sofia and other scared children that they don’t hate Muslims.
“When I read about Ms. Melissa Chance Yassini’s post about her daughter, I posted my picture in the Army. I want these precious babies to know that we will not come and grab them out of their homes and hurt them and their families” she wrote.
“They are afraid of us!! We are the force that stands between precious children and the bad guys. So let’s start a hashtag campaign.”
Other service members followed Peek’s example, and that hashtag campaign — #IWillProtectYou — spread across Facebook and Twitter:
Trump may be (inadvertently?) stirring up the hornet’s nest of xenophobia and white nationalism, but he’s also (again, inadvertently?) provoking equal and opposite shows of compassion from the American populous.