The Interfaith Vigil of Solidarity and Hope — sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia — drew hundreds still in a state of shock over Saturday’s massacre by an armed gunman who killed 11 people and wounded six in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
More than a dozen speakers from several faiths, as well as police brass, politicians and representatives from City Hall, addressed the crowd.
“There’s a lot we don’t know,” said state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who spent much of Saturday with authorities in Pittsburgh at the site of the shooting. “What we do know is that now more than ever, our leaders must speak and act with moral clarity.”
Rev. Mark Tyler of Mother Bethel AME Baptist Church in Society Hill — invoking the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 — proclaimed, “We don’t need Tiki torches; we just need small candles so that everybody can see that we’re standing together, to let our light shine.”
“I came tonight to let the world know that this is not the new normal,” state Rep. Joanna McClinton, a West Philadelphia Democrat, said before speaking to the crowd. “We’re not going to stand back and let this happen.”
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More from Praise host and award winning columnist Solomon Jones
Hate dies in the light of exposure
This weekend, when I learned that someone had walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 people, I thought of my Jewish friend, Susan Jacobs.
I met her 25 years ago, when she walked into the homeless shelter where I was living at the time. Like many of the men there, I was trying to purge the demons of my drug addiction. Sue stood in front of a room of mostly black men, and asked if we wanted to write for a newsletter that would advocate for the homeless in the voice of those who were experiencing it.
I volunteered, and more than two decades later, I’m a multimedia journalist
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