Love Lives Here is grieving with the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh after a gunman murdered 11 people during their worship service last week. Just a few days earlier, another gunman tried to enter the First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, then turned away and murdered two African-American people at a grocery store instead.
We know all too well that words can incite violent action. Almost two years ago, white supremacists initiated online attacks which harmed the Jewish community in Whitefish. Initial investigations into social media accounts of the recent alleged shooters show that they both were active on websites and online forums promoting the same type of white supremacist propaganda as the trolls who targeted Whitefish.
We are calling on our fellow community members in the strongest terms possible to reject anti-Semitic, bigoted ideas that have worked their way into mainstream discussions.
We know that white nationalism and racist conspiracy theories are not just opinions. Their promoters intentionally generate toxic rhetoric that is designed to divide our communities. These hostile movements coerce people to place negative labels on their neighbors because of the color of their skin, their religion, who they love, or how they dress. And then they say it’s fine to attack people for those differences.
We call on out community to resist these attempts to harm our community with suspicion and hostility.
Please choose your own words carefully, reflect on biases you have internalized, and join us in sending support to the Glacier Jewish Community. They need to know that their neighbors see racism when it happens and stand firmly opposed to extremists who seek to divide and damage.
You can send cards of support to the Glacier Jewish Community through Love Lives Here at PO Box 204, Whitefish MT, 59937.
— Mary Wellemeyer, Chair; Jamie Souder, Treasurer, Kedryn McElderry, Secretary; Will Hiatt, member; Cindy Sherbeck, member; Cherilyn DeVries, media relations/organizer