My first reaction to finding out about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year-old 9th grader from Texas who was arrested for bringing a clock to school - a clock that he engineered himself, no less, was fury. It rattled the Mom gene in me making me want to protect this child from the big bad world that was bullying him.
I felt astonishment too. Do people seriously look at Muslim people ... Muslims kids ... like we are not human? Like we are monsters?
This picture of him wearing his NASA tshirt while under arrest is seared into my head.
I've never experienced being handcuffed by law enforcement. I can imagine if it were to happen to me, a grown woman, I would feel afraid, nervous and maybe even have a panic attack. This is a child. I could only imagine how the experience of being handcuffed and dragged out of school and over to juvie has now changed him. I'm amazed at his maturity and his calm under pressure.
Ahmed's interview with Dallas News.
Why was he questioned by police without his parents there? Or an attorney? This is messed up.
Ahmed could be my child. I have kids close to his age. Kids yearn for adults to hear them. To understand them. To accept them. To motivate them. To inspire them.
Not to call the cops on them and have them arrested for being brilliant.
My friend and Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago, Ahmed Rehab, described this picture perfectly:
"I won't soon forget that look of terror in your otherwise ponderous eyes, Ahmed. OR the cuffs on your hands, instead of an achievement award you well deserve. Those are cuffs on all our hands. Rest assured, we are all with you. With more than words: Please continue to donate to Ahmed's scholarship fund at https://www.launchgood.com/istandwithahmed and tweet and FB your photo with a clock with the hashtag #IstandWithAhmed ."
Those cuffs are on all of our hands indeed!
Those cuffs are on all Muslims' hands.
They are on mothers' hands.
They are on curious children's hands.
They are the hands of people with a conscience.
And they are on the hands of some important people that spoke out on Twitter and Facebook today! To the tune of: POTUS, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, Google and more.
It's bittersweet to see this reaction from Ahmed.
I tweeted to him today.
If I could meet Ahmed, I would first give him a major Mom hug.
Then I would say:
"Ahmed, when you become an adult reflecting on this experience while you are working for NASA, maybe you will ask a bunch of 9th grade kids to invent something for outer space.
Maybe you will invite the kids in for a visit.
Maybe you will take a look at their inventions and congratulate these kids. And encourage them to follow their dreams based upon the skills that God gave them and the excitement and curiosity they uniquely have for the world around them.
You know- there is always a silver lining in every cloud.
Even the ones that are way up high in space."
Let's turn this situation into a positive one. Donate to a fund for the education of Ahmed and other kids interested in the sciences.