October 30, 2018

An open letter from the UW School of Social Work Leadership Team and the Faculty Council regarding the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Today, we join with UW President Ana Mari Cauce and the School of Social Work and University community in sorrow and in solidarity with members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a Saturday morning service was shattered by a gunman who murdered 11 people in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. We condemn this unspeakable act of violence, which follows an alarming rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes in our country.

As President Cauce notes in her statement, the violence in Pittsburgh “comes on the heels of the pipe bombs sent to politicians and journalists around the country and an apparently hate-motivated shooting in Kentucky that had the potential to echo the attack on the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston” —compelling us to “question the relationships between these and other such events, the growing division in our country and the hateful rhetoric that is becoming all too common in public discourse, laying the foundation for the increase in hate crimes” across the nation.

In Pittsburgh the overarching message from those overwhelmed by grief is one of love, unity and resolve, in sharp contrast to a political environment that is increasingly hostile to individuals and communities that we, as global citizens and social workers, care about deeply.

Please join us in extending our heartfelt condolences to our Jewish colleagues, students and neighbors, and to all who are grieving this devastating loss of human life. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to protect the rights, dignity and well-being of those most vulnerable to hate crimes in our communities and our nation.