#IWillProtectYou: Soldiers Soothe Muslim Child’s Fear of Deportation

Priyanka Prasad
A viral hashtag demonstrated the support Army veterans showed toward a young Muslim-American girl.

Kerri Peek

Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has slowly become a norm, an acceptable way many Americans view a primarily peaceful group of over 1 billion individuals. This rhetoric has seeped into normal cultural conversation, exemplified more than ever by an eight-year-old Muslim girl’s fears.

According to a Facebook post by her mother, Sofia Chance-Yassini was watching the news when she cried after hearing that “someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted to kick all Muslims out of America. She had began collecting all her favorite things in a bag in case the army came to remove us from our homes. She checked the locks on the door 3-4 times.”

Sad day in America when I have to comfort my 8 year old child who heard that someone with yellow hair named Trump wanted...

Posted by Melissa Chance Yassini on  Wednesday, December 9, 2015

This heartbreaking image inspired Army veteran Kerri Peek, who shared a picture of herself and wrote to Sofia’s mother, Melissa, asking to “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.”

Peek created the hashtag #IWillProtectYou, urging other veterans to demonstrate support for Sofia and any other Muslim children who may feel targeted.

I need your help my friends. Will you help me please?? I am asking all my friends in the Armed Forces, Active or...

Posted by Kerri Peek on  Thursday, December 17, 2015

She expressed to Upworthy that, “It bothered me all night…This rhetoric and fear, hate, and violence is not okay. It's not the United States that I would fight for. I was awake all night.”

The plea generated an outpouring of support—the hashtag went viral, with hundreds of soldiers offering their protection and loyalty.

To all the Muslim children worrying that soldiers are going to come remove you from your homes:I am no longer in the...

Posted by Rebekah Lokker on  Friday, December 18, 2015

Melissa Chance-Yassini feels the impact of this. “I read each and every message to her," she told Upworthy. "And she now understands that we’re all part of a fabric which is America."

Read More: A White, American Muslim Mother Sends Out A Powerful Message

Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @ABC