Not just allies, not just friends, New Zealand is family to Australia. Our brothers and sisters whos’ lives were ripped apart by unspeakable evil during a weekly time of such peace and belonging were friends, classmates, family and neighbours. My grandmother attended church almost every Sunday for her entire life and did nothing but good in this world. She helped everyone and anyone. Babysitting, ironing, delivering a hot meal, mending clothes, sourcing support and resources from her position as an Anglican lay sister for anyone in need regardless of their faith or creed.
It was people like her who would have been in that building and that broke me.
In the helplessness and grief, I wasn’t sure how to help. Then this Hearts for Christchurch drive popped up on Facebook on the Love Knitting page.
In Sydney, we have yarn bombing everywhere. Sunflowers, empowering messages, hearts, and trees covered in cosy, colourful sweaters. It is a sweet comfort to see these things around the neighbourhood. Someone made every stitch with love and they made it for strangers.
I have made five hearts to send across the Tasman. One for each of the pillars of Islam. Hate is loud, love is quiet and constant. I hope these hearts – quilted, knitted, crocheted hearts made with love – are a small comfort to anyone who sees them.
If you would like to send a heart, for this particular collection, you have until the 5th May 2019.
Word on the textile artist street is that this was started by a quilter’s guild in Christchurch who opened it up when knitters, crocheters and sewists contacted them wanting to help, but I cannot find any further information or reference. I will keep looking.
To donate money to assist with immediate and ongoing costs to the families of those taken too soon, there are several official channels you can use. Our communities are very good at rallying together to cover the costs when something terrible happens so many of these campaigns are fully funded and will close soon, but every little bit helps.
Our People, Our City Fund – The Christchuch Foundation
The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre (NZIIC) [Closes 29 March]
The New Zealand Red Cross (link for those outside NZ)
New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups [No closing date yet]
Kia kaha Aotearoa. We are one, but we are many.