SAALT Responds to Devastating Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Octo­ber 29, 2018

We are dev­as­tat­ed by the fatal shoot­ing at Tree of Life or L’Simcha Con­gre­ga­tion in Pitts­burgh, PA claim­ing 11 lives and injur­ing many more. As a racial jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion, we stand against white suprema­cy and big­otry in all its forms, and reaf­firm our sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty in Pitts­burgh and with Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties all over the U.S.

This is the third doc­u­ment­ed inci­dent of white suprema­cist vio­lence tar­get­ing a com­mu­ni­ty in a house of wor­ship in the last six years. In 2015, a white suprema­cist shot and killed nine Black wor­ship­pers at an Epis­co­pal church in Charleston. In 2012, a known white suprema­cist shot and killed six Sikh Amer­i­cans at the Oak Creek gur­d­wara in Wis­con­sin.

Just last week, a gun­man killed a Black woman and Black man at a gro­cery store in Louisville, KY, after first attempt­ing to enter a Black church.

We are in the midst of an alarm­ing trend — white suprema­cist vio­lence is inten­si­fy­ing as open­ly divi­sive poli­cies and poi­so­nous polit­i­cal rhetoric are rolled out with grim con­sis­ten­cy. While the tar­gets of this vio­lence, poli­cies, and rhetoric are numer­ous, we know fear is inten­si­fy­ing in our com­mu­ni­ties.   Since Novem­ber 2016, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed 416 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric against Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties alone. One in five per­pe­tra­tors of the hate vio­lence inci­dents from Novem­ber 2016 to Novem­ber 2017 ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump pol­i­cy, or a Trump cam­paign slo­gan.

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans (SAALT), offered the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“In a trag­ic para­dox, South Asian Amer­i­cans and Mus­lim, Arab, and South Asian com­mu­ni­ties are grow­ing rapid­ly even as they are increas­ing­ly tar­gets of vio­lence. This is not only unac­cept­able, it’s un-Amer­i­can.   Any attack on com­mu­ni­ties based upon how they pray, their skin col­or, or their per­ceived nation­al­i­ty is an attack on our nation’s core val­ues.  We remain a part of this nation’s fab­ric, and are not going any­where.  We stand in uni­ty with all com­mu­ni­ties fight­ing for the nation we love at this crit­i­cal time.”

CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi,