Ahmed Mohammed, a 14-year-old who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, has gotten the attention of Silicon Valley.
After news about the arrest spread, the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag was started on Twitter to show support for Ahmed and his family. According to BBC, a college student named Amneh Jafari started the hashtag because Ahmed reminded her of her brothers and she was shocked by the story. Over 700,000 people have tweeted their support including many tech companies who have offered Ahmed internships and visits to their offices.
Mark Zuckerberg showed his support on his Facebook page stating, “The future belongs to people like Ahmed.”
Even President Obama wants Ahmed to come to the White House.
Ahmed was arrested instead of being praised for his sense of discovery and innovation — which, as Ahmed is a young Muslim of color, raises questions of prejudice and inappropriate knee jerk reactions.
Unfortunately he isn’t the first student of color to be arrested for a science experiment. Back in 2013, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot was arrested and expelled after her experiment exploded in biology class. #IStandWithAhmed is bringing light to the serious risks of the lack of diversity in STEM.
The officials at Ahmed’s school were more convinced that he had a bomb than just seeing him as a curious scientific kid. Let’s hope through Ahmed’s story we see more support of young students of color in STEM.