Calgarians gather to show support for Parisians
Friday evening’s senseless attacks in the French capital have prompted impromptu gatherings of support at locations around the globe including a candlelight vigil here in Calgary.
The Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, a multicultural group, organized Saturday evening's demonstration of solidarity and support near the steps of city hall.
Speakers representing a number of local community groups, including French expatriates, addressed the crowd with their take on the tragedy.
“It was horrifying,” said Iman Bukari, CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation. “We're all human beings. How can other human beings harm each other for no reason whatsoever?”
Bukhari, while not French, immediately began to organize the vigil after learning of the atrocities in Paris.
“I knew we had to do something about it. we had been contacting other organizations in Calgary, especially the French expatriates organization, so we joined in together and put this vigil together.”
Calgarian Quais Amer was born in France after his family arrived in the country as refugees from Afghanistan. He has watched the events of Friday evening unfold with concerns for his relatives who remain in the French capital.
“We contacted them and fortunately everyone is okay,” said Amer, “Our hearts go out to everyone who is impacted and I feel like everyone is in this together.”
The candlelight vigil is open to all Calgarians from all walks of life to emphasize the fact terrorism isn't emblematic of a single culture.
“We want to show people that we really support France,” explained Bukari. “We're not going to let these violent acts, these terrorist acts get in the way of humanity.”
Quais Amer is particularly concerned about the negative sentiments circulating toward refugees on social media.
“People need to realize there is good and bad in everything,” said Amer. “To point the finger at one race, one religion, one culture, is the wrong thing to do. “
In addition to showing solidarity through vigils, Canadians looking to assist Parisians may donate to the French Red Cross.
With files from CTV’s Bridget Brown