I had just returned from watching Justin Trudeau wave to crowds at the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade on Sunday. Our noses were red from the cold and rain, and I was making hot chocolate for our little boy and his friend, when I heard the news: a shooting in Quebec City. In a mosque. Five dead, with another death to come, and many more critically injured. I couldn’t sleep that night. I called our immigration columnist, Zool Suleman, and we grieved. We also asked: “What is our responsibility as Muslims right now – as critical commentators and individuals who are gifted with an extraordinary platform to share the concerns, grief and experiences of Vancouver Muslims? What programming should we offer this week?”
I’m proud of the coverage we provided from Monday to Friday, but want to be honest that it has not been easy, emotionally. Working on stories about our people, with our people, and trying to capture the range and diversity of our experiences as we make sense of this senseless, tragic act has been draining and depleting. I hope you’ll have a chance to go back into our audio vault and take a listen to our shows. I’m particularly proud of the episodes where Zool Suleman and I explore the legalities of the Muslim ban; where Renisa Mawani, legal historian and sociologist explains why this kind of violence in the colonial state is nothing new, and we’re getting great feedback about our show where we encourage workplaces to ask hard, difficult questions about how they are supporting differences in their workplaces after the shooting. I called Shakil Choudhary in Toronto who is a diversity expert and together, we hold employer’s feet to the fire, asking – have you reached out to a Muslim person in your workplace and insisted on creating inclusive scaffolding so that they don’t feel further marginalized and ostracized?
I hope you’ll take a listen. Now is the time to engage and ask what you can do. We can take no other path if we are truly committed to compassionate and radical empathy and equality.