Vigil held in Shorewood Hills for 11 synagogue victims

Ron Diamond, left, sings with Samantha Garcia, 9, along with her father Mario Garcia and Fabiola Hamdan during a vigil of grief at the First Unitarian Society in Shorewood Hills for the 11 people killed in the shooting Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Last week was a week of hate  in America perpetrated by white men. Wednesday, a white man shot and killed two African-Americans at a Kentucky Kroger store after failing to get into the locked, predominantly black First Baptist Church.

Friday, a white man was arrested in Florida for mailing 14 pipe bombs to people who'd been criticized by the president — none of which detonated, but all of which were real.

Saturday, a white man opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people attending Jewish services.

All these white men have in common that they were on social media spewing hate-filled messages, with one plastering pro-Trump messages on his van and another stating that Trump had too many Jews in the White House. They apparently all defined themselves as white supremacists and had histories of violence. 

I attended a vigil of grief and interfaith solidarity Sunday night in Madison along with an estimated crowd of 800 to 1,000 others. We crammed into the First Unitarian Society. An email message had been circulated asking those of all faiths to attend as a show of solidarity for the 11 people killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where three congregations, Tree of Life, New Light and Dor Hadash, held simultaneous services. The vigil was cosponsored by Beth Israel Center, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Temple Beth El, UW Hillel, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice and the Jewish Federation of Madison.

At the Madison vigil, Madison leaders spoke representing Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths, with some sharing their direct connections to people and the synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was a healing show of support and a strong stance against hatred in all forms, white supremacy, and religious bigotry. The vigil allowed people to express how overwhelmingly tragic it is when people are attacked in sacred places of worship and to realize that this is the deadliest attack against Jewish Americans in U.S. history. 

President Trump ordered U.S. flags to fly at half-mast in recognition of the lives lost and stated before boarding a flight to a political rally in Indiana: "It's a terrible, terrible thing what's going on with hate in our country and frankly all over the world.” 

It is not too late to vote at local libraries and it is not too early to prepare to vote on Nov. 6. Numerous groups are offering free rides to the polls, especially for older voters or voters who lack their own transportation.

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I voted before this week of hate began. I voted early at my local library because I studied the records of the candidates and made my choices on the basis of who would be the most fair and just for all Americans.

Gov. Walker, with his bid for president, proved that Wisconsin is only a steppingstone to his higher political aspirations. I believe our state deserves someone who wants to be our governor. Neither do I support the interpretation of the word "person" in the 14th Amendment that U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. This week of violent hate proves that it is individuals who need protection. God please bless America.

Fabu, Madison’s former poet laureate, is a consultant in African-American culture and arts. She writes a monthly column for The Capital Times. fabu@artistfabu.com

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Fabu, Madison’s former poet laureate, is a consultant in African-American culture and arts. She writes a monthly column for The Capital Times. fabu@artistfabu.com