Orange County teachers and local leaders wore headscarves on Wednesday in solidarity with Muslim women for World Hijab Day.
The event is an annual, worldwide event started in 2013 by a New York woman as a way to encourage religious tolerance by inviting non-Muslim women to try wearing a hijab for a day.
Muslim advocate Rida Hamida coordinated activities this year in Orange County, starting with passing out 200 hijabs at the Orange County Women’s March that took place in Santa Ana on Jan. 21. She asked recipients to wear the hijabs on Feb. 1 and post pictures of themselves on social media with the hashtag #IStandWithHijabis.
She said the response has been heartening.
“In Orange County, this has never happened. We've never had an event that was mainstream,” Hamida said.
Valerie Amezcua, a member of the Santa Ana Unified School Board, took up the call and wore a hijab. She said it was important for immigrants here to show solidarity with one another.
“We need to make sure our kids feel safe, and all ages, all walks of life, that we feel safe to be from anywhere and come from anywhere and stay here in our country.”
Perla Dionicio, a computer technician for Martin Elementary in Santa Ana, wore a hijab to her job on Wednesday.
“I got a lot of compliments from the parents and the students and the staff,” she said, adding that the tension caused by President Trump’s temporary ban on travelers from seven majority Muslim countries seems to have led to an outpouring of support for Muslim immigrants locally.
On Wednesday evening, some 300 people were expected to gather at the Islamic Society of Orange County to break bread and share experiences of the day.