Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA

On Saturday, in a place that I love with all my heart, eleven people were murdered in their place of worship. Eleven people.

I am sad. I am heartbroken. And I am angry.

I will say this. There is no part of me that believes that the solution to our problems with gun violence is to place armed guards in places of worship. It is not the victim’s responsibility to solve the problem. Not when there are simple, tangible solutions. To put it simply: you don’t place the blame on the victim. You place the blame on the perpetrator.

I am going to take my Monday blog post today to make two promises. One: That I promise to always support (and vote for) legislation that offers a better solution than placing armed guards in places of worship. We can do so much better. Stricter gun control is something that I am very passionate about. It is one of the things that I look for first when I am deciding who to vote for.

Two: That I will always do everything I can to stand in opposition of hate. And to spread love.

I also want to take this space to speak their names. I want them (and their families) to know that they are not forgotten. That their lives are meaningful. They did not deserve to die in this way. And I will do everything that I can to honor them.

IN MEMORIAM:

– Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland

– Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

– Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill

– Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood

– Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, and his brother, David Rosenthal, 54

– Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg, and her husband, Sylvan Simon, 86

– Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill

– Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill

– Irving Younger, 69, of Mount Washington

Speak their names. Hold them in your hearts. Send their families love. And if you are able, you can donate to the Tree of Life Synagogue here.

Hold your loved ones close today. Be thankful for their lives. Do not take them for granted.

Pittsburgh is a place full of love. Squirrel Hill is a place of love — it is literally Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Today, I am proud to be a Pittsburgher. I am bursting with pride when I think of every single person in my city who is standing up against hate and showing those around them that they are welcome, they are loved.

Sending you love today and every day. I’ll be back with writing, travels, and life updates soon.

 

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