Four years to the day since the Christchurch terrorist attack on two mosques in which 51 people were killed, Unity Week has been launched for the second time to remember and honour those who lost their lives.
It’s the brainchild of the Sakinah Community Trust, a not-for-profit led by seven women who lost loved ones in the attacks. One founder, Angela Armstrong, lost her mother, Linda, and since then has been inspired to complete her masters degree in writing where she will share her mother’s story.
“We saw the outpouring of love that day after the attacks,” she says. “For me, I was looking for a way of how we could harness this, how we could follow through with that love, and I found six other women who felt the same.”
Many events are planned, including a Walk the Talk for Unity starting from the Canterbury Museum and heading to The Commons on March 18, ending with the Unity Picnic and Peace Train to bring everyone together one last time on March 19.
Armstrong says that despite efforts to be more inclusive and socially cohesive, there are still some troubling problems in Christchurch that the Muslim community continues to see.
“It’s interesting because I’m not Muslim. My mother was, and I didn’t pay a lot of attention before, to be fair, so what I personally have seen [in Christchurch] is a wonderful outpouring of love and people coming together.
“Of course, the experience of my Muslim sisters has continued to be different. They still tend to experience racism. Unfortunately, that hasn’t gone away. However, I do feel there is a lot greater understanding of love and coming together.”