A vigil was held Tuesday at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center for the people killed in the Oct. 27 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Considered the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in U.S. history, 11 people were killed and nine injured when Pittsburgh resident Robert Bowers attacked the Tree of Life synagogue. Bowers was charged with 29 felony counts and 11 state counts Monday, including hate crimes. U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said federal prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in Bowers’ case.
First lady of Virginia Pamela Northam, Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring and others spoke to the massive crowd.
Northam said the shooting in Pittsburgh was a “violation of all of our humanity.”
“We must have the courage to continue to reject bigotry, racism, to seek peace and reconciliation,” Northam said. “Hate has no place here.”
Herring said that, while hateful violence is becoming more common in the U.S., people should not “give into cynicism.”
“Indeed, as people of faith, we have a special opportunity to continue carrying messages of hope and healing, love and unity,” Herring said. “I know many of you have experienced fear when you worship and live your faith. Please look around tonight and find strength.”
President of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond Ellen Renee Adams said it is important for members of the Jewish community to “care for and support each other.” She added that the religion “gains strength from [its] broader family.”
“Tonight we are not Jews, we are not Muslims, we are not Catholic or Baptist,” Adams said. “Tonight we are one family leaning on and supporting each other.”
Holocaust survivor and vigil attendee Jay Ipson said tragic events like the mass shooting affect the entire community.
“We are a united community here,” Ipson said. “What hurts one, hurts all, and we’ve learned through experience and time that we all bleed red.”