Human Dignity Prevails as We Come Together as One

Silence still engulfs the stretch of Yonge Street where the van plowed through. People walk quietly past flowers carefully placed here and there — markers for where ordinary people once walked. Markers for where they were killed.

Bouquets placed on the side of the road. There, three roses placed on the marquis of a local building. Here, colourful blooms stuck into the soil of an earn on the roadside, where a body had rested only days before.

People’s faces are kinder, gentler as you pass them by. Everyone knows what it’s all about. We have all been shocked out of our daily rhythms, our comfort and our security. It could have happened to any one of us.

It can happen to any one of us.

One man walks by with a bouquet of flowers. A crowd gathers silently around a new memorial at Mel Lastman Square. No one speaks, for the atrocity committed here is unspeakable. The pain runs deep.

This ground is sacred. Life will resume once the healing is done. The sculpture of ballerinas in the middle of Yonge Street will one day dance again.

But what lessons can we take from this?

Slow things down. Be kinder, gentler. Embrace your neighbours. Give a helping hand to the marginalized. Pay it forward.

The van may have torn our street apart. But this tragedy has shown that human dignity prevailed as we all came together as One. People helped the wounded and the dying. They came together in a time of need – and they prayed.

About the Author
Avi Benlolo is the President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), a Jewish non-profit human rights organization. Avi is a prominent Canadian human rights activist dedicated to promoting tolerance, freedom, democracy and human rights.
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