YWCA WHITE PLAINS & CENTRAL WESTCHESTER (YWCA) STATEMENT ON HATE-FUELED VIOLENCE IN OUR COUNTRY – SHOOTINGS AT TREE of LIFE SYNAGOGUE and KROGERS GROCERY STORE and LETTER BOMBS
Praying, shopping for groceries and reading your mail should all be normal tasks of daily life not activities that become filled with fear and hate. Today our country once again faces the tragedy of another senseless mass shooting and taking of innocent lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Our hearts break for the families of those killed and injured, and for the entire Jewish community of Pittsburgh. This is likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States and comes at a time when anti-semitic hate crimes are surging, rising 57% last year. What makes the shooting even more egregious is that the Jewish victims were targeted during Shabbat services echoing the 2015 massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which similarly found a minority community attacked in their house of worship.
Earlier this week, a man attempted to enter the Jeffersontown First Baptist Church in Kentucky before going to Kroger Grocery Store and shooting two African American patrons. Also this week, Americans, especially those in Westchester County and New York City, were terrified as we watched the story of a serial letter bomber, who was targeting those whose political views he disagreed with.
We are reminded of the poem, “First they came.. for the Jews, and I did not speak out –…then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” We must all speak out against the atrocities of hate and intolerance. Enough is enough. Now more than ever, the YWCA remains steadfast in our mission to eliminate racism, empower women and sends our heartfelt condolences, hope and commitment to end violence and build a more just world.