Central PA's LGBT News Source

LGBT Center Reports Events

3 Events: Region responds to violence by gathering


By Amanda L. Arbour,
LBGT Center Executive Director

It's been a difficult week, to say the least, between repeated attacks on our trans communities from the Trump Administration, the horrific anti-Semitic terrorist attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh leaving 11 people dead, the killing of two Black people at a grocery store in Kentucky by a white man who had tried to get inside a predominantly Black church, and pipe bombs sent to leaders across the country. I am feeling heavy, as I'm sure many of you are too.

Statement on Terrorist Attack at Tree of Life Synagogue

At the LGBT Center of Central PA, our hearts break for those whose loved ones were murdered at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday, and for Jewish people everywhere who were violated by this act of violent anti-Semitism. As LGBTQ+ people, although our experiences and our histories are different, we know what it feels like to have safe spaces violated by deadly violence. We grieve with you, and we stand in solidarity with you.

We recognize that this violent attack does not exist in a vacuum. While it is the most deadly attack against Jewish communities in the U.S., it comes at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a national organization that tracks and fights anti-Semitism and hate, found that there was a 35% increase in anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2016, and a 60% increase in 2017. It is no coincidence that these incidents have been increasing during a time when there is a resurgence of white nationalism and white supremacy across our country.

In addition to horrific anti-Semitic language used by yesterday's terrorist on social media prior to the attack, he also blamed HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), which has a long history of providing aid to refugees, for supporting murderous "invaders". So anti-Semitism is tied to xenophobia here - all rooted in white supremacy's lies that the existence of Jewish people, immigrants, and whoever is the "other" is a threat to white people.

So what can we do in the face of such hate and violence? Reach out to friends, neighbors, or colleagues who are Jewish, and send a note to your local synagogue or Jewish organization to express your support. Educate yourself about the history and the current realities of anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Talk to the children in your life to help them understand. Follow and support local and national Jewish organizations.

All of the hate, fear, and violence can feel overwhelming, but it means that our work in solidarity across communities is more important than ever right now. We will grieve together, we will stand together, and we will fight together for a world that is safe and inclusive for us all.

Showing Up & Taking Action

There are several actions happening locally in response to the events of this past week, so I wanted to share those with you below. These are great opportunities to join with others and not feel alone.

Stronger Than Hate Vigil

Mon, Oct. 29 @ 6-6:30pm

Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg

3301 N Front St, Harrisburg PA 17110

York Vigil Against Hate

Mon, Oct. 29 @ 8-9pm

York City Hall - 101 S. George St, York PA 17401

Tuesdays with Toomey Harrisburg: Standing Against Hate, For Pittsburgh

Tues, Oct. 30 @ 12-1pm

228 Walnut St, Harrisburg PA 17101

#WontBeErased: Rise Up for Trans Resistance & Existence

Thurs, Nov 1 @ 4:30-6pm

Dickinson College's Britton Plaza

(rain location: Allison Community Room)

Coming together across communities to support one another and to speak out against hate, violence, and injustice is so vital - so I encourage you to do that in whatever ways you are able to.