Last night, I attended a vigil in memory of the victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings at Soldiers & Sailors in Oakland.
I was moved by the stories of each of the 50 victims, and I was very aware of the fact that I was sitting in an auditorium full of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, and people of all shades and colors.
Rarely do I sit with such a large and diverse group of people who come together in a show of unity. While I was touched by the poignancy of the experience, I was also acutely aware that such gatherings are all too infrequent.
The speakers focused on the many victims of hate-inspired violence who had their lives taken in places as far from each other as Christchurch New Zealand and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. And the attendees were challenged to take action to stop this murderous cycle of hate and grief.
Hate-filled acts of violence are taking the lives of people across our country and across the globe. Clearly, hate cannot be legislated away. But is there really nothing that we can do to stem the increasing prevalence of deadly hate crimes?
I encourage each of you to talk with your friends, families and colleagues to come up with innovative solutions to this epidemic of hate. We cannot simply rely on our politicians to stop this cycle. Americans are famous for our ability to think creatively about complex challenges, and it’s time for us to direct this energy toward one of our most dangerous and destructive problems.
Meanwhile, JFCS will continue to do our part in helping individuals and communities to heal. As we saw this past week, in which two pain-filled teenagers committed suicide at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, the trauma caused by mass shootings and other hate crimes can continue to have deadly consequences long after the shooting is over. Through therapy sessions, support groups, organizational consultations, and intimate conversations with victims, JFCS is dedicated to helping people impacted by hate to move down the long road of recovery.
We are doing what we can. Please do your part to help stop this violence.
JFCS President & CEO