Amidst the chaos happening, a community is able to come together for an event aimed at bringing people together. The second annual ‘Building Bridges’ event took place in mid January in Guelph, Ontario, a small city with the aim at sending a message of hope and togetherness to their community. The event hosted some 300 people among whom were , the local MP Lloyd Longfield, Mayor Cam Guthrie, Canadian Council for Social Justice, Bardish Chagger MP Minister of Small business, Global Health Consultant, Guelph Chinese Canadian Culture Association, Jewish Society of Guelph, Hindu Society of Guelph, Sikh Community of Guelph, Green Party of Ontario, University of Guelph president, several churches, and mosques were in attendance as well. The event hosted local business as well. ‘Building Bridges’ was put on by the Muslim Society of Guelph, MSOG recently opened the city’s first Islamic School in the local mosque (Jame Masjid), they are deeply involved in the community and events like these are part of MSOGs plan to bring the community together.
This is the second year that the Muslim Society of Guelph has put on the ‘Building Bridges’ event. This event is able to bring together a whole community in solidarity for each other. The event was also able to celebrate the dedication of the community, who have been tirelessly working to settle 200 Syrian refugees. This past year CEO of Danby Jim Estill who pledged over $1 million dollars to bring 50 families to Guelph. 200 Syrians have come to Guelph thus far and more are arriving in these next few months. The community of Guelph shows that the good truly trumps the bad.
Imam of Jame Masjid giving Jim Estill, CEO of Danby an Appreciation Award
The attendees of the event left with nothing but positive things to say. Bardish Chaggar, Minister of Small Businesses tweeted out that she was “Delighted to attend the [Muslim Society of Guelph] Building Bridges event in the [Guelph] promoting acceptance, harmony and celebrating efforts.”
— Bardish Chagger (@BardishKW) January 16, 2017
Mayor Cam Guthrie thanked all the sponsor and volunteers who made the event possible, saying that “Our city is already a better place due to the Muslim Society being here, but I thank you for your steadfast desire to continue to build bridges and make Guelph a better place for all!”
In light of the recent shooting in a Quebec City mosque, the Muslim Society of Guelph held a vigil at Jame Masjid. The MSOG was expecting a mere 300 people but they were surprised by the outpouring support of the Guelph community. They estimated almost 1000 people showed up to the vigil to show support and solidarity for the Muslim community. During the vigil there were a few community members who spoke and all of them referenced the Building Bridges event, saying that all communities should make efforts to run events like this in order to become an inclusive and supporting city.
Events like ‘Building Bridges’ is what brings us together in times like these. Promoting harmony, peace and a stronger community is what we should all be doing.