Marking Valentine’s Day, Boston Kids Share Love with Muslims

BOSTON – Students of a Boston school are planning to give their neighboring Islamic center the best Valentine’s Day ever, preparing special “To Islam, With Love” cards to show solidarity with the religious community.

“On a very visceral level, kids understand when someone’s not being nice to someone,” Tanya Nixon-Silberg, co-founder of Wee the People, which organized the event, told Boston Globe on Monday, February 6.

“If kids can understand fairness, they can understand unfairness, which means they can understand injustice.”

Nixon-Silberg is the organizer of the event in Massachusetts College of Art and Design on Sunday.

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More than 150 adults and children showed up for “To Islam, With Love,” a card-making marathon at the school’s Design and Media Center.

The handmade pieces will be delivered to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury around Valentine’s Day, along with others mailed in by people who couldn’t attend.

Attending the event, parents said they felt a duty to make the local Muslim community feel wanted and included, especially given some of the heated rhetoric expressed during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

They also wanted to teach their kids, most under 10 years old, inclusion and acceptance of diversity.

“I don’t think they’re ever too young to teach empathy and support for others,” said Lisa Ballew, of Melrose, who brought her two young children to the event.

Her 4-year-old son, Henry, said he was there to make cards for Muslims, “because some people don’t like them and we want to cheer them up.”

From attending rallies to contacting legislators to supporting local nonprofit groups, “every day, we do something” to spread inclusion and stand against Trump’s rhetoric, said Lynn Brown, of Jamaica Plain, who was at the event with her partner and her partner’s nephew Noren.

Renato Milone and his wife, Monica Cohen, were among attendants at the event, with his 1 1/2-year-old daughter climbed around his shoulders.

“This is beautiful,” he said. “With or without Donald Trump, this should happen every day.”