Facebook Post Goes Viral, Hits 50,000 Likes

When freshman Julia Khan posted a photo collage advocating for the acceptance of religious and cultural diversity on Facebook’s “Being Liberal” page in early March, she had no idea how much attention it would receive.

Julia’s message was simple, demonstrated with four pictures of herself holding up papers with the words, “My name is Julia. My mother is Jewish. My father is Muslim. My brother and I are taught love and acceptance. When will the world follow?”

After talking with one of her friends in her California YMCA Youth and Government program about her parents’ different backgrounds, Julia realized that the influence her parents’ different backgrounds had on her was a story worth sharing. She posted her story on the “Being Liberal” page, which is known for frequently publicizing religious acceptance-related material.

Julia said that most people don’t understand, much less appreciate, the difficulty her parents had to face getting married and what it means that their two religions can work in tandem. But Julia said she couldn’t wish for a better situation.

“Since it’s nearly impossible to follow everything any religion teaches, I don’t feel as though I’m sacrificing much by practicing both,” Julia said. “My family isn’t incredibly religious anyway. We focus more on culture.”

Yet due to their backgrounds, Julia, her father and her brother have all had to deal with the stereotypes of Muslims in America. Julia believes that our society has demonized Islam as a religion instead of recognizing it as a scapegoat for the actions of terrorist organizations.

The solution to this problem, Julia said, is quite simple: love.

“My philosophy of love is complicated and not completely formulated,” Julia said. “I know it’s incredibly cheesy but I do believe that love is the answer.”

In the caption on her post on the “Being Liberal” page, Julia wrote that her parents love each other despite the fact that members of their religions often hate each other.

“I hope that someday the world can be taught the same values that my family follows,” Julia said.

Since March, Julia’s photo has been shared on various websites and blogs outside of Facebook, including the blog “Upworthy,” accumulating more than 50,000 likes between the pages and is estimated to have been seen by four million people.

“I could not be happier that my message can spread to that big of an audience,” Julia said.

She admitted that she did receive negative feedback on the photo, but recognized that this is a consequences of posting political material on the internet.

“At first, I was a little worried about my privacy and I began to receive negative feedback and even death threats,” Julia said. “But now I realize that people like that exist everywhere and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”

Julia credits her interest and openness of sharing her story concerning her involvement to not only her Youth and Government program, but to a variety of other organizations including Female Leaders in Power, One Billion Rising and California Delegations at the Conference on National Affairs.

Even if a person’s story isn’t political or religious, Julia believes that students should follow the same path she did and be more active about sharing what makes them who they are.

In her case, Julia hopes to show people that just because she has parents of two different cultural backgrounds does not mean she and her brother are not given unconditional love.

Furthermore, Julia wants to encourage others her age to advocate for their own story. She said that each person has a voice, which if used, can and will shape the world around us.

“Everyone has a story, no matter how trivial it may seem,” Julia said. “We all just need to share it.”