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STATEMENT FROM BEND THE ARC: PITTSBURGH LEADERS

 

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By Tammy Hepps

Photos by Jeimy Ibarra

President Trump, we dream of a Pittsburgh that is truly diverse, inclusive, and compassionate, a place where we all belong. That’s why last year, after a white nationalist murdered eleven members of our Pittsburgh Jewish community, thousands of us marched in Squirrel Hill. Because we recognized that this violence was a direct culmination of your influence, we told you to stay out of our city until you fully denounced antisemitism and White Nationalism and stopped attacking immigrants. 

You have had a year to change your ways. Instead, you doubled down on the lies and rhetoric that incited the violence in our city. 

And now you plan to come back just days before the commemoration of the synagogue shooting in our community? Let us be clear: You are not welcome in Pittsburgh. 

You have spent a year emboldening white nationalists with your rants about invasions, loyalty, and savagery. You have spent a year claiming that immigrants and people of color are a threat, encouraging the conspiracy theory that Jewish people intend to “replace” white people through immigration. You have spent a year putting children in cages and tearing families apart. And you have spent a year accusing Black and brown people of anti-semitism, when you are the one sowing fear amongst all of us for your own personal gain. 

Is it any wonder that the murders in our neighborhood were followed by more white nationalist murders in Poway, El Paso, and far beyond? 

President Trump, we are done waiting. We see exactly who you are. You refuse to build a country where we all belong. But we will. 

Understand this: we refuse to accept the trajectory you have set our country on. We refuse to allow you to pit us against each other. We refuse to fear one another. 

No matter our color, our religion, or how long we’ve been here, we know the only way forward is to show up for each other. We will not be bystanders to each other’s struggles. In the wake of the shooting last year, Muslim neighbors in Pittsburgh and around the country raised money to support our Pittsburgh Jewish community. In the face of violence at the border, Pittsburgh’s Jewish community joined Jews around the country in demanding fair and safe immigration processes. And we’re just getting started. 

President Trump, we are here for all of us. And there is no place for your hatred and division in this community we are building together. 

Tammy Hepps is an activist with Bend the Arc. 

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 40 No. 10. December/January, 2019/2020. All rights reserved.

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