Students and speakers gathered at the Dublin Spire at 5pm on Saturday in an event and vigil entitled “Calling All Allies” that was organised in response to the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand which killed 50 people earlier this month .
The gathering was led by University College Dublin (UCD) International Students Society president, Rosie Aljohmani, and included speakers from European Network Against Racism (ENAR) Ireland, United Against Racism, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Students from the Dublin Institute of Technology Students Union (DITSU), Maynooth Students Union (MSU), and the National College of Art and Design Students Union (NCADSU) were also present at the event.
USI President Síona Cahill called for xenophobia to be included as part of Ireland’s hate crime legislation, and expressed that “action” is required, which includes being an “ally” to the assaulted community.
Cahill stressed the need to recognise “four key things” as an ally: the importance of education, the need to “speak up” but “not over” the affected community, the “privilege” which allies have, and the need to commit to being an ally in “every aspect of your life”.
“We will not stand for fear mongering and racism here,” Cahill continued. “We will stand together as students, as friends, as family and as allies against hatred and terror.”
“We demand a better present, we demand a better future.”
This comes as New Zealand responds to the massacre by pushing sweeping arms legislation changes through parliament, and plans to hold a national remembrance service for the victims on March 29.
Previously, Trinity students joined a similar vigil at the Spire to express solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch attack. Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Ethnic Minorities Officer Navika Mehta outlined that “the attack in Christchurch is clearly racially motivated”, and that “racist incidents must not be ignored”. She called on society to “take action to ensure the safety of all those amongst us”.