#TorontoStrong Vigil at Mel Lastman Square
van was 20 feet in length
and the violence extended 2.1 kilometres,
with ten dead and sixteen wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, multiple hospitals and many
graveyards. But the one
buried in her home town,
enlarges the circle,
and those mourning her death
at the shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to God and beyond.
(an adaptation of “The Diameter of the Bomb” by Yehudah Amichai)
We gather today, aware of other vehicle attacks—in Jerusalem and Beirut, Paris and London, Berlin and Barcelona, Saint Jean sur Richelieu and Charlottesville—to grieve for those who have been killed in our city, to support their families, to pray for the injured and to stand in solidarity with many others affected by the van of violence. Toronto has felt the pain of other places, just as those cities now share our horror and hurt.
Our sadness is mixed with gratitude for those who cradled the wounded, the first responders, the police and medical teams. In Toronto, in Ontario, in Canada, we do not run away, we run to help others.
We are a strong city and we must continue to help the families who have suffered devastating losses. For years to come, we must remember the killings and carnage. We must also turn to life and toward each other.
Let us reclaim Yonge Street. Bring caring and kindness to all the streets of Toronto. Take lunchtime walks. Cheer for our sports teams. Celebrate at graduations soon to come. Dance at weddings in future months.
Our bittersweet legacy is to mention these loved ones, recall their joys and smiles ... and to make life better. May that be their legacy.
Andrea Bradden, 33
Geraldine Brady, 83
Sohe Chung, 22
Anne Marie D'Amico, 30
Betty Forsyth, 94
Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, 45
Ji Hun Kim, 22
Munir Najjar, 85
Dorothy Sewell, 80