Post-Election, Thousands Sign Up To Help Defend Terrified Neighbors

One woman’s plea for help after being tormented on her commute sparked the formation of a coalition of New Yorkers committed to helping defend their neighbors.

As hate crimes have been occurring more frequently since Donald Trump’s election, there is now a serious need to protect and support American minorities who are being targeted with violence and brutality.

Kayla Santosuosso, deputy director of the Arab American Association of New York, received a message about a woman being harassed and threatened on the subway, The Huffington Post reports. “She was seeking someone to commute along with her,” she recounted.

She then took to Facebook in search of local residents willing to accompany the frightened woman. She said she expected about 30 of her own friends to respond, but was pleasantly surprised to find that she got countless replies from people asking to be put on a list.

She created a Google sign-up sheet through an online organizing platform called The Action Network. By Monday the list had more than 7,000 people signed up and counting.

The response was so overwhelming that it became too big of a number to verify everyone’s identities. Furthermore, those who signed up would need to be trained in bystander intervention strategies.

“We want to flip this on its head,” Santosuosso said. “Instead of waiting around on a list, why don’t we train 7,000 people in bystander intervention and de-escalation and send people out into their day-to-day?”

She reportedly plans to get the training underway within the next two weeks so that she can, “break it down and sort of try to get groups going on a neighborhood level.”

“Trump wants to deport millions of immigrants, he wants to register Muslims,” she wrote in an email to the list of volunteers. “And in order to truly protect our most vulnerable, it is going to take thousands of us, working to keep our neighborhoods safe. Now is the time, we are the ones who will do it.”

Sign-ups are still open for those interested in the training sessions.

Santosuosso did a great thing by using the power of social media to build this community of people who are truly dedicated to combating the hate that minorities are witnessing and enduring in Trump’s America.

Something so simple as a post asking for someone to ride the subway with one woman has grown into a vast movement that will hopefully result in thousands of formally trained allies who know exactly how to stand up to bigotry to defend a friend or neighbor. 

Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @Mic

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