In the aftermath of the hostage crisis in downtown Sydney, Australians are showing the world they’re not caving to racism or Islamophobia.
On Monday, an armed gunman stormed a cafe in Martin Place, entering a tense standoff with police. After the hostage-taker displayed an Islamic flag in the cafe’s window, many of Australia’s Muslims are understandably anxious about facing retribution.
But instead, Australians have banded together on Twitter with #IllRideWithYou, a hashtag showing their solidarity with fellow countrymen scared of being attacked on public transportation.
The hashtag started simply, with an act of compassion. Tessa Kum, a writer living in Sydney, told Guardian Australia she acted after seeing a tweet from TV reporter Michael James:
If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.
The campaign snowballed from there. Topsy, a social media analytics website, measured more than 150,000 tweets with the hashtag in just 12 hours: