At a time when the world is grappling with growing threats of bigotry and alt-right movements, a white man stepped forward to defend a Muslim woman who was attacked by a racist on the Vancouver transit system in December 2017.
Jake Taylor is being hailed as a hero for standing up for Noor Fadel, who was targeted for being Muslim and wearing hijab. The man who attacked Fadel had shouted that he would kill Muslims, and had raised his hand.
Taylor was the only passenger who mustered the courage to confront the man, who was later arrested.
This happened as Statistics Canada noted a spike in hate crimes in B.C. Many observers believe that the attacks on minorities, particularly Muslims, have increased in North America ever since Donald Trump became the U.S. president.
Trump used his anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric to win the election, giving legitimacy to white supremacy both in the U.S. and Canada.
Taylor virtually risked his life by standing up for Fadel. The man who attacked her could have been armed and might have harmed him.
In 2017, two men died under similar circumstances in Portland. They were stabbed to death by a white supremacist as they tried to save two Muslim women on transit from a hate attack.
We need to amplify the story of Taylor to encourage others to stand up in such difficult circumstances for the weak, and break stereotypes about both the majority and minority communities. It is our humanity that matters, and those who show compassion and courage in the face of hatred must be appreciated by all of us.