The Short of It
Five years ago, after a struggle to conceive, Ciara and Jacob Martinez named their daughter Isis after the Egyptian goddess of fertility. They had no idea that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) would become a household name and that their entire family would experience harassment because of it.
Isis Isabella Martinez has been diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes slowed development, trouble using the hands and with walking, seizures, intellectual disability and slowed brain and head growth. Isis said about 20 words as a toddler and then became nonverbal at age 2. The Martinez family sought medical help from specialists at Katie's Clinic in San Francisco and had a fundraiser to help them pay for the trip to the clinic from their home in Tucson, Ariz.
They used the hashtag #TeamIsis and had bumper stickers made to promote awareness of the event and of their daughter's health condition. This was back in 2012.
"I honestly didn't think anything of it when I printed them," Ciara told Daily Mail Online. "I had started to hear of ISIS, the terror group, a couple of months earlier, but to me, that's just an acronym, my daughter's name is something completely different. But after the event, people started trying to drive me off the road, flipping me off, being aggressive....It was horrible."
A family friend was reported to the FBI for having the bumper sticker on their car. People on Twitter called Isis "a disgrace to America with that name," and strangers everywhere, from the doctor's office to stores, tell Ciara her daughter's name is "unfortunate" and say she should change it.
"I am just dumb-founded," says Ciara. "No, I am not going to change my daughter's name because this terror group came to public attention."
The family instead is focused on helping their daughter and raising awareness for Rett Syndrome, which has no known cure.
I want to know who's daring enough to flip off someone they think is involved in ISIS! And I don't think anyone should suggest to a parent that they change their child's unique name—that's up to them and them alone.
Here's hoping ISIS's terror is one day a distant memory and there are no longer negative associations with Isis's name. Still, the family can't expect everyone to "get" what their bumper stickers mean with ISIS making so many headlines. Maybe they should use a new hashtag or create more explanatory bumper stickers.
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