Incident at Solace!
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Date: 2081-05-14 By: Rosie Marshall
The ShadeTruth Media logo starts the video before transferring to show Rosie. "Hello Seattle. This is Rosie Marshall for ShadeNews Media and today I'm here with..." She looks up at the podiums where three people stand. The camera pans over them as they introduce themselves.
"I'm Cleric Rachel Castellan, COO of the Solace Group."
"Good evening. I am Gail Shirokoi, President of the Solace Group."
"Greetings. I am Amy Lowell. I recently joined the Board of Solace as the Community Outreach Officer." The camera then returns to Rosie.
"And I'm standing here in Solace which just, actually, Mr Shirokoi, would you mind explaining what happened here? There seems to be quite a bit of destruction around here." The camera zooms out to catch all three of the people on podiums.
"Of course, thank you Ms. Marshall." He bows slightly in the japanese fashion, then straightens. "Earlier today, Solace became the target of a hateful, vicious attack by a well-armed and well-organized force. They attacked this community, this family, without warning, and only the quick response by helpful citizens prevented it from becoming a massacre."
Cleric Rachel steps forward to speak "We are grateful to say that due to our forewarning and safety measures, as well as the spectacular reaction of our community, that none of our Stewards, Staff or Patrons were harmed. As a place for all communities to worship, we are honored by the number of Deities that chose to bless both us, and our community with their benevolent protection. In thanks, I ask that we have a minute of silent prayer to our own deities or beliefs." Amy nods her head in silent solemn prayer during this minute of silence. Gail takes off his glasses and hangs them from the chest pocket of his suit, putting his hands behind his back. He is silent, though he makes no gesture to pray himself. After the minute passes, Rachel looks back up "Now, not all people here have faith, and we respect that, so I'd like to also give our thanks to the people who helped defend our temple as well. Now, our Outreach Officer has prepared a statement, then we will be taking questions." Amy steps closer to the podium. Her voice is serene. Gently persuasive.
"As Mr. Shirokoi explained, Solace - a pillar of the community - was attacked. This attack was well funded. The attackers are currently unknown, but the matter is being investigated. We believe a militant hate group may have been manipulated into attacking the organization based on anti-religious beliefs. The community rallied and repelled these attackers. Restoration is already underway. Solace, and the City of Seattle, are committed to an environment of religious freedom. We will be reviewing the safety of our sites of worship, and increasing defensive protocols like, sadly, religious institutions often have been forced to do in the past by the actions of violent individuals and organizations. Solace is unique in offering a place for all faiths acknowledged in the city to worship. An attack against one is an attack against all. Solace exists, in part, as a monument to interfaith cooperation. We will stand together against any who attack us. We are in the process of notifying all appropriate authorities so they can investigate what appears to be an act of domestic terrorism, with military force and equipment. We look forward to working together as a community to restoring Solace completely." On the last line of Amy's statement, Gail's lips firmed into a hard, flat line, and he nods with conviction and agreement. Rachel nods at the same time before she says,
"We will now be taking questions." Rosie can be heard from off camera.
"I suppose this one's directed at whichever one of you would know this best, we can clearly see the minaret was taken off the top, what other damage did Solace sustain in this attack?" Rachel steps back up to her mike. The video changes to a video, showing the damage around Solace while the audio remains of the three people at the podiums.
"The loss of our minaret is quite devastating, but thankfully we were able to mitigate that damage, bringing down the tower next to the temple, rather than through our roof. Beyond that, we suffered some minor weatherproofing damage and a lot of broken windows, due to grenades employed by the attackers. We also lost the spectacular double-helix grand stairwell, made by the local artist Jean-Marc Phillipe. Thankfully, however, we did not lose any other irreplaceable artworks, such as our Rose window, another of Jean-Marc's masterpieces.” She Chuckled "I am also informed by our rather irate matrix department that we lost our coffee machine."
Gail continues on. "More than these, the true damage is in the fear and pain caused to our congregants. Solace is a place for those who have no other to which they may turn for a place to worship. Come ye who are weary and burdened, and here you will find rest. Apologies if I butchered that quote, English is not my first language. But the sentiment holds, we are a place where those with no spiritual or community home may come to find a place of fellowship. That is what was attacked, and that is the true damage we must strive to undo."
Amy then speaks up. "But it is important to remember that though our faiths and our community were attacked, they are unharmed and unshaken. All will be able to continue to worship. All will continue to have a place of refuge and community. We may explore additional worship formats and spaces, but nothing that cannot be restored was taken. Our people, our family, and our courage to practice our many faiths, remains."
The view changes back to the camera in time to see Rachel start talking again. "We have simple rules here at Solace. ‘Leave your prejudice, politics, and personal opinions at the door. There's a handy bin for them.’ is one of my favorites. Our attackers chose not to heed this, so we proved the voracity of what we write above the door, and here, in our great hall." She gestures up to where the stairwell once stood, to a great carving. The camera pans up into the air, turning to show the carving which reads "To everyone upon this earth, death cometh soon or late. And how can one die better, than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of their ancestors, and the temples of their gods" Rachel is heard finishing what she was saying.
"We will defend our rights to faith and heritage, not just for ourselves, but for everyone." Rosie then asks another question as the camera cuts back to the podiums. "I'm sure that people are worried now that Solace is a target, and may be hesitant to return here. What's your plan to continue operating safely until this group is found and brought to justice?"
"Another one for me," Cleric Castellan chuckles, "We are currently operating our varied services through satellite sites, either in other churches we have associations with, or in temporary churches we are doing our best to assemble in the short windows we have."
Rosie asks a follow up. "So, for the time being, this location will be closed?"
"Until we can stop the draft from our new open door policy, at least!" Rachel jokes
There’s a chuckle from Gail. "Most folks wouldn't find the sound of a backhoe cleaning the lot conducive to prayer. The Discordians perhaps."
"And the lumberjacks of destiny" Rachel adds. Amy then brings the conversation back to the question.
"Solace is not a building. Solace is a network of faith communities. One building may temporarily be closed for construction, but the Solace community remains open and active." There’s a pause and then she continues. "As a closing note for our members who may have questions about individual services. Each individual faith community that practices at Solace will be supported by Solace leadership and Solace resources to determine how and where and when they want to hold their next services. That information will be conveyed to the members of that community by its leaders, but not publicly posted at this time as a precaution for the safety of our members."
"Thank you, have a good day, and stay safe" concludes Rachel, stepping away from her podium
"Best wishes to all of you. Thank you for coming." He bows, and steps away as well.
"Thank you to everyone for your support today and in the future." She smiles and steps back also. The camera cuts back to Rosie.
“Well there it is folks. You hear it here first, from ShadeTruth Media. This has been Rosie Marshall, stay informed Seattle.” The video cuts back to the logo for a second before ending.