I love Hamilton.
It’s been my home for over fifty years. I love the people. This city has an amazing heart. I saw it in action on #LoveLockeDay when thousands showed up on Locke Street to show their support for the merchants who were victims of senseless vandalism on March 4th. You can read more about these hooligans by reading the National Post’s article by clicking here.
When I heard about this act of stupidity and selfishness it bothered me.
I was really pissed off.
My thoughts turned immediately to the small businesses that were impacted. I tried to imagine how upset I might be if I had a small shop on Locke. I was outraged.
In the midst of my anger I was deeply moved by one of the Locke Street merchant’s response. Donut Monster, who had just launched their store earlier this year, responded immediate in a way that caught me off guard, but brought a smile to my face.
They posted this on their Facebook page within hours of the incident as part of their message to the community that they’d be opening as soon as possible:
Please stop in if you would like to say ‘Hi’ – you will be welcome to start a conversation with your neighbours on keeping peace and promoting good connections here in #HamOnt.
To those who took part in the destruction on the street last night: the damage you caused has impacted the lives and wellbeing of fellow Hamiltonians that work and reside in your city. While your actions were confusing and hurtful and your intentions unclear, you are also welcome at the shop today – minus the masks and rocks – to add your voice to a peaceful discussion on reconciliation and moving past violence.
It may not seem like much, but that simple act of peace helped make a difference in how our city responded. I’m not going to claim that Donut Monster’s actions alone made this city respond with love, but it sure helped set the tone. It’s easy for one negative spark to fuel ugliness and more violence. History shows how small incidents can quickly escalate towards greater violence.
When the immediate response is an invitation towards peace and reconciliate one cannot help but acknowledge that this time love wins.
I was reminded of this city’s response when I stopped in to buy some donuts the other day at Donut Monster. The plywood boards that once covered the broken windows were now hanging on the interior walls. The boards are covered in hundreds of signatures and messages of love. Even Justin Trudeau stopped in during his Hamilton tour to sign and show support. It was nice to see people signing those boards. It was a confirmation that senseless violence didn’t win.
We can all learn a valuable lesson from this response to violence, perhaps some of our world leaders should be paying attention. How we respond to violence and abuse can make a difference.
If we want love to win, if we want peace to grow, we have to live our daily lives in ways that reflect peace. We need to train ourselves to regularly be people of peace. Then, if we happen to be put into a situation, like the Donut Monster was, where our peaceful response can help shape a better world it’s more likely that we’ll be able to do it, because peace and love will have become part of who we are.
Let’s all choose to live in the ways of peace. #LoveWins #LoveLocke.