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5 Powerful Tributes to Love and Acceptance in the Wake of the New Zealand Terror Attack


Why Global Citizens Should Care
A noticeable rise of Islamophobia in recent years has manifested into far-right terrorism and extreme acts of violence against innocent people. Global Citizen works to support the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call on all nations to promote peace and justice and fight hate wherever it exists. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

On Friday, 50 people were shot to death across two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a white supremacist to spread fear and ignite hatred. The terror attack is the worst mass shooting in the nation's history.

In the days following the attack, the initial sense of horror soon gave way to an outpouring of grief. Mourners worldwide stood in solidarity with Muslim communities, with vigils and flowers left at places of worship across the globe — proving time and again that diversity, kindness, and compassion trumps racism and bigotry.

Many mourners have also begun processing the trauma through art.

Read More: The New Zealand Terror Attack Is an Urgent Reminder There's No Room for Hate in This World

Below, check out five powerful and artistic tributes that have gone viral from people attempting to heal and make sense of last week's horrendous attack. 

1. 

Twenty-five-year-old New Zealand artist Ruby Rose drew this stunning depiction of two women hugging. The illustration has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media, including by model Gigi Hadid and New Zealand-born director of the Thor: Ragnorak film, Taika Waititi. The illustration has also been left on the steps of mosques throughout New Zealand and portrayed on vigil messages across the world.  

2. 

New Zealand cartoonist Shaun Yeo decided to draw a cartoon of a kiwi crying just 30 minutes after hearing the news of the attacks from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, according to Stuff News. The image was initially shared to Yeo's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account. The Facebook post has been shared — as of Wednesday — 42,000 times.



3.


Across the pond, Australian illustrator Rebel Challenger drew a koala hugging a kiwi, representing Australia consoling New Zealand. The image has been shared by thousands of Australians, many of whom consider the relationship between New Zealand and Australia to be that of siblings.

As news of the Friday attacks unfolded, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced: "Australia and New Zealand are not just allies, we’re not just partners, we are family.”



4. 

Schoolchildren in the New Zealand capital of Auckland expressed their condolences and sorrow by using their bodies to form a large heart on the oval of their school. Above the heart, students arranged themselves to form the words “kia kaha,” which translates to “stay strong” in Maori — the language spoken by the Indigenous population of New Zealand.

5.

New Zealand artist Paul Walsh painted a mural of teacher Naeem Rashi to honor the victim who was killed as he attempted to take down the gunman and protect his son. The painting, located in Christchurch’s Avondale Art Park, features the words “remember the heroes." Rashi was originally from Pakistan, and Walsh explained in the copy of his Facebook post that the murals green and black coloring represents Pakistan and New Zealand "united in mourning." 

"I wish I didn't know who Naeem was. I wish he were back at his job as a teacher today, and I wish I were painting something else,” Walsh further stated in the caption. "But some coward changed everything, and I have had to respond in the only way I know how; by honoring the lives of my fellow New Zealanders who didn't make it home on Friday. We will not forget you.”