A hastily-planned vigil in solidarity for Muslims across Canada following a shooting at a Quebec City mosque drew 60 people in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday night.
The gathering was emotional for participants, who struggled to understand why someone would kill six people while they were in the middle of daily prayers. That the event happened in Canada while we watch the divisiveness unfolding south of the border was a point not lost on both vigil organizers and participants.
Community leaders spoke out against such racial violence and hate. It was heartening to see people set aside differences, leave the tiresome Facebook timelines alone and send their support across the country to people they don’t even know.
There were no racial lines outside of city hall on Monday: no bickering, no sideways glances, no blatant opposition to people’s opinion, no politics.
The vigil gave us pause.
Getting together when the times are tough and helping others is what we do best in Port Alberni. We seem to have lost sight of that in the past few weeks of debate over the controversial past of an historic figure vs. modern-day norms.
In these times of great unrest between Canada and our neighbours to the south, we must set aside our differences at home and look at the bigger picture. It’s frightening out there.