I cannot seem to find the rights words to express the sadness, anger, and frustration following the senseless violence that unravelled in Christchurch, New Zealand. Upon hearing the news, all I could think about were the lives that were lost and the families and friends whose lives have changed from this unprecedented terror attack. As media outlets continue to update the world on new reports, my heart has been overflowing with a heavy feeling inside. While thoughts and prayers are often expected after such tragedy, the world needs to collectively come together now and take action.
Over recent days since the news broke out, I witnessed an array of silence from friends, family, and acquaintances that have yet to speak about the events that have unfolded. As Global Citizens, I find that it is our moral duty to come together as a community in times of tragedies from acts of terrorism, violence, and hate. Oftentimes, I hear friends and family tell me that there is nothing they could do to help, but as a matter of fact, there are.
You do not need to book the next flight to Christchurch to take action. Begin by having open dialogues about the issues of gun violence, gun control, Islamophobia, terrorism, white supremacy, and extremists and write to your local political leaders to address these issues in the House. Create a movement or group to advocate against such violences that have rapidly increased its presence in our communities. Host or attend a vigil to commemorate all of the lives that were lost and the lives that have changed forever. Reach out to our Muslim community during this time and provide them comfort, support, and assurance and pray for their healing. Lastly, with the power of social media, share updates and stories across your platforms or write a post to convey the message that we will not tolerate this.
Parallel to Desmond Tutu’s quote:
If you are silent in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
While we may be from diverse cultures, communities, and faiths, this is beyond race and religion. This is humanity. This is our community and we need to stand in solidarity against those who instill fear, hate, and use fear-mongering tactics to advance extremist political ideology. With strength in numbers, as long as we continue to have these discussions and spread love and compassion, we will succeed.