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Peace vigil for Christchurch victims held in Rochester

Dozens came to Peace Plaza on Sunday to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.

Posted: Mar. 17, 2019 10:45 PM
Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 7:57 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – It’s hard for Muna Osman to explain how she felt when learning about the terrorist attack on her Muslim brothers and sisters.

“I feared for other Muslims around the world, I feared for myself, my family, and it was just something you can't really wrap up in words.,” she said.

But she knew she couldn’t stay silent. Osman quickly helped organize a vigil for people of all faiths to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community.

“I can come out here and be supporting,” Melanie Shaw, who attended the vigil, said. “There's just a lot for me that I've been exploring and doing the work of learning about my white privilege…how I can be an ally for people of color.”
Tears flowed as the names of all 50 victims were read aloud.

“The 71-elderly grandfather, whose last words were in the face of the gunman saying, ‘hello brother,’” Muhamad Elrashidi read. “The 49th victim, the 50th victim. And there are many people who are in hospitals and clinging to life.”

There was a moment of silence for the victims before speakers urged people to stay silent no more.
“Take what I have said and recognize that when you're being silent, it's killing,” Siham Abdi said.

Regina Mustafa, another vigil organizer, also called on elected officials to publicly denounce the hate acts and white supremacy.
State representative Tina Liebling was the only elected official in attendance and she did publicly denounce hate.

“As an elected official, as a Jewish woman, and as a human being, I pledge to continue to speak out against white supremacy and all forms of hatred and intolerance,” she said.

Change started then and there. People stayed after the vigil to talk with those they didn’t know and learn about life from there view.

“I want to thank all of you for making out today to help start the beginning of the healing process. It won’t be strong, it won't be easy, but this is a start,” Osman said.

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