Stephen Ellison

Four Women Help BART Launch Campaign Against Islamophobia

BART has launched a campaign against hate, with posters popping up on its trains telling riders what to do if they see someone attacking a person because of race or religion.

Call it a pushback against Islamophobia. Or just signs of the times.

The idea is the brainchild of four Bay Area friends who want to make a difference.

The four women heard about a group of young people being harrassed because of their race or religion.

"They were told to go back to their country," Hanako Asakura said. They were

targeted, she said, because they looked Middle Eastern. "I felt like this is our BART; this can’t be happening."

Asakura brought a cartoon to the group and thought it could make a difference. It caught her eye because it had instructions on what to do when someone is being targeted. It’s basically a step-by-step guide on what to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment.

The poster shows you how to engage harassers in a conversation rather than ignoring them and thus giving them more power.

The group's idea caught on quickly. There are 40 posters currently on BART trains. A GoFundMe page has more than $2,800. They are raising money to add 80 more signs.

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