With last week’s events still fresh in their minds, the Dawson community is already looking for answers and a way to begin the healing process.
Yesterday, three Dawson students began to do just that, calling the community to a “town-hall style meeting.”
On Friday last week an E-mail began to circulate, inviting the community to a forum where they would be free to express their thoughts, recount their stories and help one another move towards healing.
More than 50 people showed up to the D.B. Clarke Theatre on Tuesday night. Some were there to recount a lingering memory. Others expressed feelings of guilt, frustration, anger or peace. Yet others told listeners what measures could be taken to prevent another tragedy.
Moderator George Soule, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, introduced the evening’s format by saying the meeting’s aim was to share ideas in keeping with the aim of conciliation, cooperation and healing. Everyone was invited to share, but he asked that there be no blame-casting or finger-pointing.
The organizers were Dawson students Fehr Marouf, Marie Vigouroux and Moussa Noun. They each shared a story of their experience last Wednesday and then left the floor open.
Josine Lafontaine, in her second year at Dawson, shared that she knew people who were experiencing “feelings of guilt for not being there.” She said it was not just the students and staff present on the Atrium floor that were affected, but the wider community.
A young man who didn’t give his name was upset at the media for giving so much attention to the details of Kimdeer Gill’s life and said he “wanted to hear more on Anastasia De Sousa.”
A poignant letter from student Hayder Kadhim was read by his brother Hassan. Hayder had received three gunshot wounds and is recovering at home after being released from the hospital on Friday.
In his letter he addresses Prime Minister Stephan Harper and the Government of Canada and asks how the P.M. would feel “if your son or daughter was an innocent victim… or if you were told you’d have two bullets in your body for the rest of your life?” At the end of his letter he pleaded, “Please don’t make our country one that puts guns into the hands of just anyone.”
Many suggested that protocols be put in place for emergency situations.
A few students and parents expressed their appreciation at how the community has responded and helped them, and praised the student unions (CSU, DSU) for their inititiative.