A 19-year-old Indian-origin girl in the US has created a twitter hashtag to highlight the racial attacks faced by Muslims and brown people after the September 11 terror attacks.
Jessica Talwar, a political science student at Loyola University in Chicago, in an email to the Los Angeles Times explained that #AfterSeptember11 hashtag was created to share some of the effects of 9/11 that many have missed.
“America needs to recognise that the trauma and repercussions of these attacks were not confined to the day of September 11, 2001 itself,” she wrote.
“Desis, Arabs, and Muslims have felt the impact of this day for 14 years”.
The hashtag has more than 50,000 heartbreaking accounts of people who say they were targeted for being Muslim or often, just for having brown skin.
Many of the writers were children when the attacks occurred, and their tweets reflect the impact that day had on their young lives.
Participants tell of their families being afraid to wear hijabs or other cultural clothing in public, or of being eyed with suspicion from an early age.
Others told of violence to them or their family members. One said that her father shaved his face and stopped wearing a turban after being assaulted at work. Others had even worse stories to tell.
Talwar says the effects have been felt by non-Muslims as well.
Indian-American poet Hari Kondabolu wrote on Twitter that his mother put a US flag on their house because she feared that people would throw rocks through the window.
In 2013, the word “terrorist” was spray-painted on the walls of a Sikh temple in Riverside, only one year after a deadly shooting at another Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
On Tuesday night, Indian-origin Inderjit Singh Mukker was driving to a Chicago grocery store when people called him “Bin Laden”. They reached to his car, and punched him in the face repeatedly, knocking him out.
He was discharged from the hospital after being treated for bruising, blood loss and a fractured cheekbone.
The hashtag, which began trending Thursday night, has not been without its detractors. Soon after its creation, angry tweets infiltrated the conversation, with people using racial slurs and threatening to kill Muslims.
Talwar said that others were less violent, but were still angry that people of colour were speaking about their pain.