In tragedy, we often find our strongest sense of community.
Since Naomi Onotera went missing on Aug. 28, both friends of her family and total strangers have volunteered to help search for her, and have attended a candlelight vigil at Langley’s Sendall Gardens.
A Facebook group dedicated to the search has, as of mid-week, almost 5,000 members.
Among those helping are the family of Trina Hunt, a Port Moody woman who disappeared earlier this year, and was found dead near Hope.
Although Hunt’s family has not received closure in the case of their family member, they’re trying to bring aid to Onotera’s family, because they can understand what they’re going through.
We see a similar outpouring of support after a racist threat was directed at the Langley Islamic Centre in late August.
After the centre went public with the threat, they saw offers of support and help, even offers from non-Muslims to stand guard at the centre during prayers. Local political candidates from the Conservative and Liberal parties have offered support, according to the centre’s Facebook page.
After a year and a half of COVID, we’ve been told so often that “We’re all in this together!” that the phrase has become a little trite.
It’s still true, however hard it can be to remember that when our nerves are frayed by pandemic stress.
Langley functions best when its people are guided by empathy.
This community has not always been perfect, and it has seen tough times and tragedies. But in the face of personal tragedy or the broad misfortunes of violence or hunger, recession and depression, flood and fire, Langley’s residents have come together to offer aid.
The thing that makes Langley a community worth living in, now and in the future, will be that empathy and outreach, to those facing a crisis, whether personal or community-wide.