On Saturday 24 May 2014 mother of three Blessie Gotingco got off the bus near her home in Birkdale, Auckland after working in the CBD and was never seen alive again. Two days later her body was found in a cemetery nearby. But that isn’t what this post is about.
Yes it is a tragedy. But what I find most heartening is that I live in a society where this senseless act of cowardliness and violence is still shocking, still unacceptable and still capable of making headline news. But even more than that, seeing the local community rally together and have a peace walk with more than 2000 turn up in her memory gives hope that maybe we are not lost as a modern society. I used to live in Birkdale, my son still does, and I am so pleased that he is going to grow up in a place where this kind of violence is not tolerated or ‘normalised’ and where people still fundamentally give a damn about each other.
This latest event should serve as a wake-up call for everyone to look out for each other. Get to know your neighbours, your local shop-keeper. We are all so consumed in our own busy lives we risk losing a little bit of humanity each day by ignoring those around us. It is time to reverse that trend. I challenge everyone to say hello to the neighbour across the fence that you may not know, or to pause and ask how the corner store owner is doing next time you run in for milk. Speak out if you see something you do not like in YOUR community. Help stop the next tragedy. Be that change.