“I’ve cried a lot this week”

I’ve cried a lot this week.

It’s been a week that has shown some of the most awful aspects of human nature, but also some of the most beautiful.

Here in Melbourne the whole city – in fact – the whole country has followed the story of Jillian Meagher, a 29 year old radio worker who went missing after a night out with friends only to lose her life in the most random, vile and horrible of ways.

I remember getting home on Thursday night and hearing the news that hope was well and truly lost for Jill. I surprised myself by falling into a complete sobbing mess at the news. I didn’t even know this person and the next day, still upset, I asked myself numerous times “Why am I so upset about someone I didn’t even know?”

We see and hear human tragedies on the news all the time and yet I couldn’t figure out why this particular story had such a major impact on me. In my lifetime, I’ve never felt a community so shaken and scared.

All I could think about was my family and how it made me miss them. In particular it made me think about my two precious little nieces and the world they are growing up in. I just wanted to hug them and somehow promise them that they wouldn’t have to grow up in a world like this, but I know in many ways that’s an empty promise.

Thankfully, in a time where the community has been filled with fear there has also been an outpouring of hope and strength. Through the collective grief of the community, there is a renewed energy to make sure that this horrible story doesn’t define us – that there is a better future for young ones like my nieces.

 

Tens of thousands of people marched the streets today where Jill was abducted to show that they care – to show that there is hope. The conversation has switched from one of despair to one of a community united to do better.

So despite the horrible reminder this week of how short life can be we now have a symbol – a call to action to create a better community than this. A community where my nieces and young girls like them can grow up safe, happy and without fear.

Our challenge is to ensure this isn’t a fleeting moment – a tragedy that we process, accept and forget, but one which continues to unite us. We must keep this conversation going. We must fight for a world and a community that is better than what we received ourselves.

Earlier this week I cried out of fear and despair for what our community had become. Now I’m uplifted by the possibility of the world we can create.

– Jonathan Brown

Jonathan is the Creative Director of We Matter Media. You can follow him @JB_AU

Images sourced from here and here

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