Out of the horror came something beautiful. Not all of the people who traveled to London’s Trafalgar Square, or attended similar vigils in other cities and countries throughout Europe, could explain why they felt impelled to come. They just knew that they wanted to stand together, not only to protest the slaughter at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, but in some way to continue the work of the French satirical newspaper. Its editors, writers and most famously its cartoonists had regularly challenged those who sought to stifle freedom of expression.
As the news of the attack spread, the hashtag #jesuischarlie—”I am Charlie”—became a declaration of solidarity, and the vigils organized and publicized on social media offered a way to make that declaration substantial.
“I saw the pictures on television,” says Marie Proffit, a Frenchwoman working in London as an arts project manager, “and I needed to do something with…
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