Mayor's letter to City of Seattle employees on the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh
Dear City Employees,
On Saturday, at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, Jewish families and neighbors gathered together in peace were met by an act of pure hate, violence, and anti-Semitism.
Like so many across our nation, we are both saddened and shocked by this hate crime and act of terrorism. Our houses of worship should be safe, not scenes of bloodshed and pain. And we must say out loud and not minimize in any way that every one of the congregants died only because of their faith in the god they worshipped. They were targeted because they were Jewish.
We are holding the victims, their families, first responders, and the Jewish community in Pittsburgh in our hearts - and we share in their deep grief. Last night at Seattle's Temple De Hirsch Sinai, I joined with thousands of community members from across our region as we came together to remember those lives taken on Saturday.
Once more, we have seen what happens when hatred and bigotry are emboldened. The tragedy at Tree of Life did not spring from a void. Rather, it was birthed by enabling actions of hate. A little over one year ago, the voices and acts of hate echoed in Charlottesville, with symbols of hate and burning torches displayed for all to see. We did not heed the warning. So the last week brought us the tragedy at Tree of Life, the murder of two black Americans in Kentucky in an act of terrorism, and the attempted assassinations of public figures, including two former Presidents, Attorney General, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. All these acts of hate are antithetical to who we are.
We must be honest: Emboldened expressions of hate are on the rise in America. Sadly, Seattle has not been immune from this troubling trend. In the first nine months of 2018, there have been over 400 documented acts of hate crimes and bias in Seattle: assaults, harassment, threats, and more. This is nearly more than all of last year combined. We have seen places of worship, and too many of our residents, targeted because of the color of their skin, their heritage or faith, or who they love.
This is a time of deep grief and fear. But we cannot let our sorrow and anger pull us into the grasping power of darkness. As a City committed to race and social justice, we must reject hate. That's why today, I hope you'll join me in translating what we feel today into action. Today, we must recommit together to fighting for safety, dignity, and justice.
We will protect and lift up our Jewish neighbors, our neighbors of color, our immigrant and refugee neighbors, our LGBTQ neighbors, our neighbors with disabilities - everyone we have the privilege of serving as City of Seattle employees. Your active participation in the Race and Social Justice Initiative is an important vehicle to doing so.
Please know that during this painful time for our country, our work together to combat hate is more important than ever. Greet every person you serve with warmth and kindness.
I also want you to know that there are resources available to all City employees, including our Employee Assistance Program, http://sdhrweb/benefits/eap.asp or 1-888-272-7252. If you would like more information, please contact your manager or your human resources representative,
I appreciate all you do to help Seattle unite around our common humanity and to make our City a safer, more equitable place for all who call Seattle home.
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