As local leaders added their voices to the national condemnation of Saturday’s synagogue murders, and to the compassion for families of the 11 dead, other leaders were organizing events to help people channel their grief and resolve.
A vigil organized by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, and representatives from the interfaith community, called a Community-Wide Prayer and Action Vigil, will begin at 5:45 p.m. Monday at 401 Elmgrove Ave. in Providence.
Next Saturday, a hybrid religious and political event billed as “Never Again: An Antifascist Assembly for Jewish Lives,” will take place near Providence City Hall in Kennedy Plaza from 1 to 5:37 p.m.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has ordered the U.S. and R.I. flags flown at half-staff until sunset on Oct. 31 to honor the victims. Although her order applied to flags at state properties, she encouraged citizens to show respect by lowering their flags.
“No one should have to fear violence at their place of worship,” Raimondo said. “Eleven innocent lives were lost in a hateful, horrific attack on a synagogue. Andy and I are praying for the victims, their families and the entire Tree of Life Synagogue community. I’m also praying that our leaders in Washington finally take action and do something about gun violence.”
Members of the state’s congressional delegation, all Democrats, issued statements Saturday and Sunday.
“We grieve with those who grieve for the murdered souls in Pittsburgh,” U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Sunday, “and we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, knowing the long grim history of violence against them.”
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed also spoke of standing with the Jewish community. He said he hopes “our nation will summon the moral courage to stop hate-filled mass shootings.
“We can’t grow numb to this type of horrific violence,” said his statement, issued Saturday. He discredited President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the murders might not have occurred if an armed guard had been posted at the synagogue.
“We can’t cast blame on a congregation for not having an armed guard. Four brave police officers who were quickly on the scene were wounded, too.”
The nation must come together to address the causes of hatred, Reed said.
Releasing his statement Sunday, U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline said: “The hatred that drove their murderer to attack them in their house of worship is too common in our country. All of us have a responsibility to denounce anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry.
“Once again,” he said, “folks expressing their faith in a house of worship were gunned down in cold blood. I’m not sure what it’s going to take before all leaders of our country work together to end this epidemic of gun violence. … The only way to end this crisis is with common-sense laws that prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals, children and individuals with serious mental illness.”
Like the others, U.S. Rep. James Langevin said he was heartbroken and outraged. He said Americans “must come together … to speak out against anti-Semitism and the hatred and intolerance that fuels this violence. We must also acknowledge the gun violence epidemic … and enact sensible reforms that will keep guns out of the wrong hands and make our communities safer for everyone.”
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who is running for governor, issued a statement Sunday that said, in part: “I’ve literally stopped to think, what truly could one say to make any of this better? Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Saying anti-Semitism “didn’t just happen overnight but has been a disgusting trend over these past few years,” he asked Rhode Islanders to “try reaching out to one person this week who is from a different community and just have a conversation. Seek to understand their plight.”
“An executive order or proclamation cannot fix this stream of violence. The fix is in each one of us.”
The Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice and Bias released a statement that included: “Bigotry and violence have no place in our country.” Places of worship should be a safe sanctuary, it said, “a place of peace and faith. It should not be a place where armed security guards become the norm.”
Saturday’s tragedy won’t be the last, said the commission, made up of law enforcement, clergy and community members. “Our current climate of hate and disrespect for others will encourage similar acts.”
The commission asked everyone “to respect each other’s cultures and beliefs and work to remove the environment of hate.”
On Twitter: @donita22
Published at Mon, 29 Oct 2018 04:08:28 +0000