I attended college and graduate school in Pittsburgh. I spent much of my free time walking (or, on a rare occasion, running) up Forbes Avenue to Squirrel Hill, whether to see a movie, to grab groceries at Giant Eagle, or to study at the Dunkin Donuts. In graduate school, I lived in an apartment on the intersection of Fair Oaks and Negley, blocks from the Tree of Life synagogue. And while I’m not practicing, I’ve always identified as and am always proud to be Jewish. The shooting that took place on Saturday left me in mild shock. I sat and I cried.

The last week has been filled with fear and hate: mail bombs sent to prominent media outlets and Democratic Party figures, the racially motivated killings of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones in Kentucky by a white supremacist who had just moments before tried to enter a nearby black church, and the horrific anti-Semitic mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue.

I’m tired of crying. I’m sick of feeling all we do is send thoughts and prayers. It is our duty to ensure all those facing oppression, hate, and discrimination know that there are people who will fight for them and rally for them to exist in peace.

Rebecca Pinn
YDMA President