Having spent half a year in and around Christchurch, New Zealand, I have stacks of vivid memories from this little city.
From my experience, it's colorful, and though it may not have the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles, London, etc., it is a place where humans of various backgrounds, appearances, and beliefs co-exist, mostly in great harmony.
I remember it feeling like a breath of fresh air as I met the locals - through their questions of who I am/where I am from/etc. - rather than placing assumptions and judgements onto me by my appearance and accent like I've experienced in California and the US in general, that the inquisitiveness stems from genuine curiosity. I don't recall ever feeling out of place or any social anxiety being a POC in New Zealand.
The side of Christchurch I got to experience as I landed into the Social Enterprise World Forum and PechaKucha all within the first several days is one of innovation, action, global solidarity, reconciliation, and community. Although there's no doubt one could see and feel the effects of destruction, grief, and loss from the earthquakes 8 years ago, there is a certain energy and sense of personal and communal purpose unlike ever before to (re)build a city for its people by its people. That spark has fostered neighbors to get to know one another better. That has allowed community gardens to pop up and sprout their seeds in the soil as well as the minds of many. That has gotten folks to work together in putting "we" before the "me."
Last year this time, I was right there in the city, enjoying the heck out of Holi with hundreds at the largest park in Christchurch Central. Holi is a Hindu festival of love or colors that signifies the victory of superior over immoral. All of us in this photo were born in different countries. We are united by our similarities as well as differences. And that is where all of us will keep going. Victory of superior over immoral. Celebrate culture and embrace diversity. White nationalist rhetoric, fear, and hate has no place. Period.
Deep deep love and support to everyone affected directly as well as indirectly by this horrific event.