Those were the final words of a man serving as greeter at the door of one of the two mosques attacked in a Friday shooting that killed at least 49 people in New Zealand.
He had seen the gunman approaching, weapon in hand. And whether he spoke in the hope of defusing the attack or simply out of resolve to meet hatred with something higher, his message was one of courage and love.
Those qualities were mirrored by others during the attack by an assailant who was taken into police custody – and who according to news reports was an Australian who had forged white supremacist beliefs. One woman on the street acted to keep some of the wounded alive while the assault was still underway inside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch.
The response to the attack was swift and global. Voices of sympathy and solidarity resounded worldwide. Beyond the initial responses, many are voicing the need to take deeper practical steps in the hard work of displacing hate with a brotherhood and respect that spans cultural or ideological differences.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stood for that ethos in addressing her nation Friday. “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand; they may even be refugees here,” she said. “They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us."
Now on to our stories for today, highlighting educational opportunity, global indicators of progress, and a grassroots role in mental health care.