In solidarity with our Muslim whānau

Tēnā koutou,

Like most of you, at RainbowYOUTH we've spent the last few days grieving, reflecting and thinking about how we can respond to the horrific mosque attacks in Christchurch on Friday. A lot of us are shocked, a lot of us are hurting, and a lot of us also feel like we need to work together as a country to take some action. In order for us to move forward, we wanted to reach out to our membership to encourage ways that we can support each other, and work together to eliminate racism, xenophobia & Islamaphobia from Aotearoa. 

Firstly, our thoughts are with any of our Muslim members, in & out of Christchurch - we stand with you, and will do whatever we can to support you. For our non-Muslim members in Christchurch, please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you through supporting your whānau & friends through this tragedy. 

Secondly, we want to remind ourselves that the 'this is not us' narrative we've been seeing on the news is unfortunately not true. Over the last few years, we have seen a huge rise of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, violent xenophobia and right wing extremism all over the world, and some of this has even taken place right here in NZ. We've found a comic that explains this a lot clearer here. Even prior to the alt-right movement, it's important for us to remember that New Zealand has its own history of violence and genocide against tangata whenua. This is us, and has always been us, but it doesn't have to be this way, not any more. 

Thirdly, we want to offer some practical & preventative ways in which we can support our Muslim & migrant whānau across Aotearoa. Here are some of the ways we think we can be useful:

1. Call out racism

Especially after Friday's events, a lot of people will want to voice their opinions & concerns around Islamaphobia & racism in NZ. Some of these opinions can be really offensive and hurtful - if you are in a position to, call them out. For more info on how you can have these conversations, check out the Human Rights Commission's resource here, or this super useful comic here

If you have witnessed a racist or Islamaphobic attack either online or IRL, you can report it here, and then make a police report by calling 111. You can also encourage your school and/or workplace to put up posters to show that there will be zero tolerance for racism. 

2.  Listen

In times like these, sometimes the best thing to do is listen. Muslim leaders have been speaking out on this issue for a few years, but unfortunately haven't been listened to as much as they should have. During this time of grief & healing, listen to your migrant friends, hear their stories, offer them support, attend a vigil or a rally with them. 

3. Create a safe space

A lot of people would feel scared to be out in public right now, which is totally fair. However, people still have to go to work & go about their lives, so it's important that we create safe spaces for vulnerable people. We can do this simply by being present, supporting local Muslim owned businesses, and keeping your eyes & ears open when you're out and about.

4. Donate

This awful tragedy has had a huge impact on the material circumstances of the families impacted both directly & indirectly. Here are some pages you can donate to:

NZIIC

Victim Support

5. Volunteer

A lot of migrant & refugee organisations run on little to no resources, along with the other charities & services that support them. If you are able to, consider volunteering your time at one of these organisations to show your support. 

Lastly, remember that a little goes a long way. Sometimes it might not feel like you're doing enough to change things, but if we can all work together, we can definitely work towards building a country that has no tolerance for hatred, xenophobia and racism.

Kia kaha whānau, and let us know if you need our support in any way 💖

Ngā mihi aroha,

RainbowYOUTH Team