Who knew that Ottawa is made of heroes?
Indeed, in the darkest of times, we have been reminded that it's true.
Through the campaign, we've been inviting everyone to share their acts of #peace by taking photos of the things they're doing in real time, to collectively build the conditions for the world in which we'd like to live.
The message behind the campaign is simple: in a world often divided by conflict, rooted in religion, culture, politics, etc., we have the power to harness our collective actions to create a more peaceful world starting with ourselves.
This is true because we are the sum total of our actions, good and bad. All of these acts combined ultimately create the world in which we live.
When our actions, however big or small, are dedicated to selflessly serving others -- we become everyday heroes.
While this campaign is intended for youth across the world, we had no idea that the relevance of this message would hit so close to home in light of recent events.
On the morning of Wednesday, October 22nd, our hometown was shaken to its core when Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist serving with Hamilton's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada regiment, was tragically shot dead while guarding the National War Memorial across the street from Parliament Hill.
Within moments, a former nurse, a corporal on patrol, a colonel who had been walking by, as well as lawyer Barbara Winters were at Cpl. Cirillo's side doing what they could to support him as he lay suffering from the gun shots.
Winters spoke soothingly to the wounded soldier telling him he was loved, he was brave and that he was a good man as others performed CPR on him.
Following this event just a few weeks ago, we've witnessed examples of everyday heroism by locals across the city and concerned citizens around the world - often seen online.
Since the shootings, the #MyOttawa Twitter campaign has been one of the most active collectively driven online campaigns. People who live, work in or have visited Ottawa have taken to sharing their pictures and memories about our city. Hundreds of photos have been shared locally and around the world about the beautiful and kind city that Ottawa is.
Another admirable example of immediate collective action is the highly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign designed by Chad Rogers and Kaz Nejatian to raise money for the families of Cpl. Cirillio and Warrant Officer P Vincent, another member of the military who was killed when he was struck in a targeted hit and run in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
With an original goal of $10,000, the Stand on Guard Fund raised more than $700,000 from 3,500 individuals, some of Canada's largest banks and corporate sponsors like Tim Hortons. While the crowdfunding campaign officially closed on October 29th, people are invited to donate to the True Patriot Love Fund Foundation, in support of ongoing assistance to Canadian military families.
As we approach Remembrance Day, on November 11, we will remember the acts of valour of the men and women who have fought to maintain the integrity and values that have shaped and protected our most precious city, country and world.
Moving forward, we must never forget that we have the power to keep the peace, with every act, however great or small, and to shape Ottawa -- and the rest of the world -- now and for future generations.
Both originally from Ottawa, Sarah Noble is the Director of External Relations and Communications at the global peacebuilding organization, Interpeace, in Geneva Switzerland. Giovanna Mingarelli is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Ottawa-based mobile app, PlayMC2. They are both members of the World Economic Forum's Global Shaper Community in Geneva and Ottawa respectively.
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