How can we begin the mending of the world?

by Robbin Botnick, May 1, 2018

The last couple of months have been filled with incredible tragedies:

Stoneman Douglas High School – 17 Students dead
Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash – 16 dead
Toronto Van Attack – 10 dead
Flash Flood in Southern Israel – 10 young lives lost

As a parent my heart breaks for the parents and families who have lost their children, their spouses, and parents due to malicious intent or accident. So many futures that will not unfold and so much potential that will never be realized. I was in London, a city that has suffered countless acts of terrorism, when the recent Toronto attack occurred. It has always been in my head when I travel to London what could happen, but I think about Toronto as a relatively safe city, and I was lost to understand the magnitude of what had happened.

As I reflect now on all that has occurred over the last couple of months I find myself grateful everyday that my great-grandparents and grandparents made the decision to leave Europe, cross the ocean, and ultimately settle in Canada where we have been spared many of the horrors that other countries experience. I am also grateful that despite these tremendous tragedies we are still surrounded by love and kindness and that good can still come from catastrophe. The shooting that occurred at Stoneman Douglas was a catalyst for change, which may one day restrict gun purchasing and ownership in the US. The Humboldt accident saw a 21 year old organ donor save 6 lives through his terrible sacrifice but this single act resulted in a 100% increase in the signing of organ donor cards, which will ultimately save many more lives. The deaths of so many young athletes and coaches brought nations together and was the single largest crowd funding campaign to ever have been launched to benefit the survivors and the the families of those who had lost their lives. In Toronto, hundreds gathered at Mel Lastman Square to honour and remember those who lost their lives, showing that one ill young man cannot send people into hiding. In Israel, communities mourned the young lives lost in Arava and will lead to change in how weather patterns are monitored and approvals are made for adventure trips.

We may not be able to prevent tragedy but we can and must step back and think about how we can make the world a better place. What can each of us do differently? How can we honour the memories of those lost? How can we begin the mending of the world?


Filed under: President's Message

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