On Saturday, February 4 at 1:30 pm, the Aurora community gathered to stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors in the wake of the tragic attacks and loss of life in Sainte-Foy, Quebec. This gathering, called by multiple faith communities in the area, welcomed all Aurorans, politicians from every level of government and all who felt the need to reaffirm a commitment to peace and understanding between peoples. The room was filled to standing, with overflow guests in the hallway listening to the words and prayers of so many.
Aurora Cultural Centre Executive Director offered words of welcome and hope to open the afternoon.
“Good afternoon. My name is Laura Schembri and I am the Executive Director of the Aurora Cultural Centre.
We acknowledge this land we are on this afternoon, and we thank the first Indigenous Peoples for sharing this land with us. And on behalf of the Board of Directors and our staff, I welcome you Brevik Hall within the Aurora Cultural Centre, resting on these lands.
This room we are in, right now, has been a gathering place for 130 years.
Throughout the ages, and right up to this afternoon, this hall has welcomed people coming together for many different reasons.
Originally in the 1880’s this hall was 2 class rooms and an auditorium – it was a learning space for children.
Several years ago, it was a museum – a history space for families and elders.
Recently, with the creation of the Aurora Cultural Centre, this historic gathering space has become a place of cultural discovery, understanding and dialogue.
Today we embrace our community, particularly our Muslim brothers and sisters, and gather in solidarity with our local Muslim community in the wake of the attack on the Mosque in Sainte-Foy, Quebec.
When planning for today, we intentionally left as many blinds open as we could, and did not close the black drapes behind me. We wanted the light to come in, because while are our hearts are heavy, the light of this new day gives us much hope for the future that we are all working towards together.
For in the words of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, we KNOW… ‘Diversity is our greatest Strength.’ Thank you.”