As I watched coverage of the shootings in Paris last week, I was deeply sad and shaken. My associations with the city are filled with beauty and love, my dear friends there, the pleasure the city brings to people, its way of looking differently at the world, its history of civility.
But what moved me equally was the outpouring of solidarity. While the immediate reaction of Parisians was of grief, their next response was to stand together: Je suis Charlie, I am Charlie. Spoken, tweeted and retweeted, erected in lights.
The call for unity — against terrorism and in support of the right to speak freely — drew people together in a series of rallies at Place de la République.
Outside Paris, more gatherings: 8,000 people marched from the gare to the hôtel de ville in Rambouillet, a town of 25,000 inhabitants.
Montreal, New York and Berlin, and many other towns and cities around the world held demonstrations as well.
I took the photo above in Paris in October. It was one of several brightly colored posters promoting peace in the 10th arrondissement. I was surprised to see it, and even more so to find others. I shouldn’t have been.
Every voice counts in this increasingly noisy world. Let us continue to stand together. Let us continue to reflect, to insist on civility, and to express our hope with words, images, and actions.