A message from Joseph Pazzano, director of equity, diversity and inclusion at Fanshawe College, on the recent Our London Family trial verdict.
On Thursday, November 16, 2023 a jury found Nathaniel Veltman guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the Islamophobic terrorist attack against Our London Family in June 2021. While the right to a fair trial sits at the bedrock of our core democratic principles, these last few months - reliving the excruciating details of the attack - have been deeply distressing and retraumatizing for members of our campus community, especially our Muslim students and employees. Yesterday, justice was served, and there is some level of closure to this painful chapter in our community’s story.
Although the trial is over, no just outcome can be enough to erase the pain of that day, nor can it make a grieving family whole again. While members of our community may be grateful for the outcome and find solace in the end of this process, others may wonder about the futility of a legal process that cannot undo this tragedy nor create the conditions to erase hate in peoples’ hearts and minds.
But there is much within our control. Collectively, we have the tools to dismantle hate, oppression and Islamophobia, if we work together and see each others’ humanity. It is not just possible but part of the moral imperative for each of us in this learning community. We must stand together and say that we will do everything in our power to prevent another family from being taken from us in an act of hate. With all the tools at our disposal, with all the lives we touch, with all the change agents we have in our classrooms and send forth into their communities, we can be a College that makes it our mission to educate our students about their power to remember and bring change.
We can be a community that honours the memory of Our London Family through our action.
Fanshawe will continue to support the vital and transformative work of the City of London’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Division and its Action Plan to Disrupt Islamophobia, “A London for Everyone.”