Over the past four days, I’ve been haunted by the words of Martin Niemöller in his poem “First they came...” written at the time of the Holocaust.
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
As a Jew, this weekend instilled fear in me that I don’t think I’ve ever felt before. But as a Pittsburgher, as an American, and as a person, I’m fearful for all of us.
I keep asking myself, “Have we spoken out enough for those who are different than us?”
They’ve come for our LGBTQIA+ community, our African American community, our Muslim community, our refugee & immigrant community, and other friends. They’ve come to our movie theaters, our concerts, our elementary schools, our high schools, our colleges, our churches, our mosques, and now our synagogues.
No matter who hatred strikes, it strikes all of us.
I’ve been flooded with love from people all over the world these past five days. With so many thoughts, questions, and feelings swirling, I’ve been given the gift of knowing I’m not alone.
In the wake of the Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light shooting, we can help the victims live on by spreading that gift. We can reach out to each other. We can make an extra effort to connect with those that look different, practice differently, and have different backgrounds than us. We can find ways to translate our love into action.
I see what the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh has done -- with its money, but more importantly, its friendship -- and I am brought to tears. This is the world I want to live in.
When I think of the families who lost loved ones this weekend, I think about how it could have been any of us. I think of my family, I think of the Pittsburgh family, I think of the CCChampions family.
We are all one family.
As we try to gather meaning and purpose from this horrifying weekend, I challenge all of us to find one small way that we can translate our love into action. What is one small way that each of us can make our community a little more interconnected?
And to everyone in our family, we hear you, we stand next to you, and we appreciate you. Please know that you always have a friend at CCChampions.
For ways to help, The Incline has some wonderful suggestions.
Types of Friendships